One trait every Christian leader needs

St. John the Baptist
Detail from an icon of St. John the Baptist (Wikimedia Commons)

Line up Moses, King David, the Apostle Paul, and John the Baptist, and you will see leaders who had countless differing characteristics and personality traits. You’ll also find that they shared several in common, one being humility.

Moses stood up to Pharaoh and led the Israelites out of slavery, yet the scriptures speak of Moses as being “very meek, more than all the people who were on the face of the earth.”

David reigned over the unified kingdom and led his people to one victory after another, and was even called a man after God’s own heart, and yet was so lowly in his sin as to pen Psalm 51. “For I know my transgressions,” he said, “and my sin is ever before me.”

Paul, the intrepid apostle, stood before rulers both religious and secular. He had the boldness to challenge his fellow apostle, Peter, to his face. And yet, almost like David’s plea in the psalm, Paul recognized that he was the chief of sinners.

John the Baptist led a spiritual reform movement in Israel and prepared the way for Christ’s ministry. His formal title in the Orthodox Church is “the prophet and forerunner.” But while the crowds pressed in, eager to participate in his ministry, he pointed to Christ and said that he wasn’t even worthy to fiddle with the straps of his sandals.

How many Christian leaders do you know who exhibit such humility? How about you? How about me?

I remember that story of St. Augustine literally running away when he heard that he was to be ordained. He didn’t feel up to the responsibility, up to use of such power. (And, make no mistake, it is power.) Plenty of ministers still run, but not away. It seems very often that they run to the pulpit, run to the office, run to the power—eager to use it. Maybe they do it out of sincerity. I hope so, but there are plenty of sincere egotists mucking up God’s kingdom.

The least, said Christ, are the greatest.

"Thank you, I am a Mormon and my love for Jesus Christ is only surpassed ..."

Why Mormons aren’t Christians
"Two kings were about to wage war against King Ahaz. Isaiah comes along and gives ..."

Is the virgin birth really predicted ..."
"Praying three times a day is the Jewish prayer schedule. Blessing the Lord seven times ..."

Why pray the hours?
"So do you have any evidence that the Greek version is more authentic to the ..."

You’re reading the wrong Book of ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Kingsly

    Beautifully Said. We must decrease and Christ must increase. Really thought provoking.

    • Thanks. I love the reference there to John the Baptist as well. These men make you measure your ambitions and ask whose they really are.

  • Joel, such a great post and observations with a powerful question we should all consider. In recent times James Collins uncovered humility as being the differentiator of leaders that went from Good to Great (in his book of the smae name.)

    I often reflect on Peter’s words: “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another.” and then: “God…gives grace to the humble.”

    Humility is the way to ‘clothe’ ourselves at all times.


  • I always associate being humble with a serving heart, as well. And these four men of the Bible you described are also such great examples of serving. They each served others as their “occupation,” but most of all, they served God adamantly (though imperfectly, of course).

    Definitely a great trait to applied to all our situations today.

    Thanks for this post.

    In Christ,