Characteristics of a Leader, Part 1

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, February 17, 2017 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

A few weeks ago in my daily Bible reading, I came across something very interesting that I wanted to explore. Many of us know about David, the shepherd boy who slew a giant and became one of the greatest figures in the Old Testament. In 1 Samuel 16:14-23 the ruling king, Saul, had disobeyed God twice, been rejected by God to be a rightful king, and was being plagued by a distressing spirit. Saul’s servants discussed what to do about it and one of them knew about David. Most of us when hearing this passage tend to think of David’s skill with a harp, however, this servant pointed out six unique aspects about him. I would like to explore these six aspects as seen in 1 Samuel 16:18.

The servant described David as: 1) a man who plays the harp well, 2) a man of valor, 3) a man of war, 4) one who speaks wisely, 5) is good looking, and 6) the Spirit of the Lord is upon him. I plan to break this up into two posts hitting three each. Let’s dig in.

1) David was a gifted musician.

David had an extraordinary talent as a musician. Playing the harp and singing was something David constantly carried throughout his life. He wrote 73 of the 150 Psalms and he was so passionate that when the Ark of the Covenant was brought to Jerusalem, David danced and sang with such fervor he ended up stripping off his clothes and humiliating his wife. David’s harp and worship was the only thing that could give Saul peace, but even then Saul tried to kill him at least twice while playing. It was David’s musical skills that are often cited at the key reason why David was initially brought in to serve Saul and was part of what helped put David into position to take the throne when Saul died.

Now since this post is about characteristic of a leader, what if I don’t have any musical talent? I completely understand that notion because I myself have NO musical talent. People learned long ago to keep any microphones away from me when I sing because not only am I completely tone deaf but I project, which means if I am behind a microphone, my bad voice is ALL you will hear. Does that disqualify me as a leader because I don’t have musical talent? Actually no. Here is the principle.

David had a gift and he used it. He did not do it for show or to look for attention. He just used it. He played and sang while watching sheep. All David did was do his duty and let his gifts be put on display with no one watching but God himself. What talents do you have? What skills has God given you to put into practice?

In the Parable of the Talents, Jesus made an interesting comment. Each servant was given according to his ability. One got five, one got two, and one got one. God will not give us a talent without also giving us the root skills and abilities to use them properly. That being said, many of us abuse the gifts we have been given by using them on ourselves or allowing the world to use it for their ends. I keep thinking of the musicians, artists, and athletes out there that do have some sufficient talent, but they use it to make themselves famous or they have allowed the influence of the world to direct and dictate their skills. The greater the talent, the more responsible we are for how we use it.

The other issue with the talents is if we use them at all. The third servant got only one talent and never used it. The master cast him out for letting the talent go to waste. There are many reasons why we don’t use our talents but I want to highlight one: many of our young leaders are scared to death of their talents. They know what that kind of gift could mean and they are scared of misusing it. Those of you in the older generation reading this: we need to strengthen and encourage the next generation to use their gifts properly. Do not give them leadership positions until they show they are ready; it is unwise to give those jobs to novices. But give them an environment to grow and learn and develop those skills.

2) David was a man of valor.

Now, this one and the next one I am very curious how the servant would know this about David. We know in David’s defense of not being a novice to slay Goliath, he had defeated both a lion and a bear, however, we know nothing in Scripture of anyone knowing that up to this point. Whether the servant knew this about David or not, David was a man of courage.

Challenges did not bother him. He embraced them and sprinted after them. He ran after the lion and the bear. By all means he should have run away. Pit a lion or a bear against a teenager, most would put their money on the lion or the bear. Most adults would run away from these. But not David.

David was not just a mere fearless boy. Had a confidence in the Lord his God to get him where he needed to be. He knew and understood that no one could touch him as long as he was obedient to God. He had some king of swagger that was not arrogance, but rather total confidence of God’s protection. As leaders, we will be buffeted from all angles to test us if we are worthy of the title. To be a leader, we must be men and women of valor with the reckless courage and confidence that will send us to slay lions and bears who mess with our sheep.

3) David was a man of war.

This, too, is interesting to how the servant would know this about David. When David prepared to face Goliath, he tried walking in Saul’s armor (which was too big for him anyway because Saul was head and shoulders above everyone else) and could not use them because he had not tested them. He had not put that armor to use or to practice. But somehow, David knew something about battles and battle tactics. His three oldest brothers were soldiers in Saul’s army. David had to understand how to engage in war to be the king of Israel. Exactly what David knew and how he knew it is unclear in Scripture. But we do know that right after slaying Goliath, David was sent to numerous other battles and kept winning.

This was before his time of hiding in caves while running from Saul. Do we know how to engage our spiritual enemies in battle? Are we in position where we could just be sent to go do that task and we would know what to do?

These are three of the six characteristics of David that one of Saul’s servants noticed about him. Next week, we will look at the other three.

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