This week I presented my first talk of the year to our Corporate Team at Buckner and spoke on the topic of Leadership Selection. I reflected on my own journey to my role at Buckner and remembered a favorite story with principles for leadership selection.
I recounted the story of the Prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 16:1-13 NIV) and reflected on my leadership assignments over my lifetime. I recall that Samuel was led by the Lord to travel to Bethlehem to anoint one of the sons of Jesse to be the next King (v.1). Samuel obeyed the Lord and took a heifer to sacrifice to the Lord. Samuel was to anoint the son of Jesse that the Lord would indicate (v.2-3). The elders of the town thought Samuel the prophet was coming to judge them or pronounce bad new but he quickly declared that he came in peace to make a sacrifice to the Lord (v. 4-5).
At first Samuel saw Eliab and thought he was the one to anoint but the Lord said, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (v.7). After reviewing each of Jesse’s sons, Samuel asked: “Are these all the sons you have?” (v.10). Jesse said “There is still the youngest (David) but he is tending the sheep.” Samuel answered and said “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”
Where was David? Why was he not at the sacrificial meal? What was he doing tending sheep? Was he really out of sight and out of mind? Was he under-developed and ignored? He was where he was supposed to be, doing his assignment, his mission, with no audience, tending the sheep, protecting them from lions and bears using a slingshot for defense.
Emerging leaders often wonder if they are in the right place at the right time, don’t you? Some wonder why they are not invited to certain functions and may be offended when they are left out. Sometimes emerging leaders wonder if their work matters, if anyone is noticing what they are doing. Focus on getting noticed sometimes distracts us from doing our best. Some leaders begin to believe that time in position and tenure is supreme and settle into a sense of entitlement while missing opportunities to develop new skills expecting others to move to the back of the line. These behaviors and actions represent inadequate thinking and do not resonate with a biblical worldview. The best leaders with the right skills get matched to the right assignment to produce the right results for the organization or ministry. This was true in the story of David when he was anointed and appointed to serve as King.
So where do you find the best leaders? I will post my answers the question on Friday.
— Dr. Albert Reyes
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