As I continue in my new assignment, I continue to reflect on what it means to be a good leader. (What I offer today overlaps with some of what I have written before on leadership.)
A good leader does not seek leadership. A good leader accepts leadership only to do God’s will. In Exodus 3:11, Moses said, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” In Exodus 4:10, Moses offers a reason he should not be a leader, “If you please, my Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor now that you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and tongue.” In the end, Moses does what the Lord asks of him.
Likewise, we read in the first chapter of Jeremiah that he felt he was too young. In the call of Isaiah in chapter 6, he speaks of his unclean lips. The Lord cleansed him of his unworthiness.
King David was known as a great servant of the Lord, doing what the Lord commanded. In 2 Samuel 24:1, the Lord told David to take a census. However, on another occasion (1 Chronicles 21), David took a census that the Lord did not want. Just because the Lord tells us to do something once doesn’t mean we are always supposed to do it when we want.
Here lies the most important quality of a good leader. A good leader does not seek their own gain. A good leader does not simply follow what the majority of the people (or those who speak the loudest want). A good leader always seeks to do the Lord’s Will.
The Lord has a plan and it is a good plan. As I have said before, one of my favorite passages is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—oracle of the Lord—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.“
The challenge is to listen. We need to listen to what other people have to say because sometimes the Lord speaks to us through other people but not always. We must listen to God. When an immediate decision is not necessary, we must take time to pray. Our prayer should not be just us telling God what we want him to do. Our prayer should include us telling God our needs but then we must listen to God tell us what He wants us to do. His plan is better. His plan is perfect.
If we wish to listen to the Lord, we need to do so with a clean heart. That means seeking to avoid sin. When we do sin, it means confessing our sins with a repentant heart in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Only then can we begin to see as God sees (see 1 Samuel 16:7).
We should always remain in a spirit of prayer so that when we have to make an immediate decision, we are listening to the Lord. When we do not need to make an immediate decision, we need to take to reflect on what lies before us. We need to way the human considerations of what lies to before us. Most importantly, we need to pray that the Lord always guide us. We need to always pray “thy will be done” and that we always act in accord with God’s Will.