Lead, Follow, & Get Out of the Way*
- June 16, 2022
- Posted by: Carolyn Mahal
- Category: Devotions
Therefore, David blessed the Lord in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: “Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule overall. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand, it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.
“But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding. O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own. I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart, I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you. O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people, and direct their hearts toward you. – 1 Chronicles 29:10-18
When Lee Iacocca was leading Chrysler through their amazing turnaround in the 1980s, he provided great example of a business leader who immersed himself into the work of leading a company. His presence cast a large shadow over Chrysler, the automotive industry, and the entire business world. In that moment, he was looked upon as the quintessential leader. During the height of Chrysler’s rise and his own personal popularity, Iacocca did commercials for the car-maker that emphasized a method of leadership that he tried to embody. He implored his company and everyone who was a part of it to lead, follow, or get out of the way.
This is a bold statement, bolstered by the personal success he achieved while revitalizing the company. He was telling every employee of his company (and his stockholders) that he was leading the forward charge and he wanted everyone involved to play their role in moving Chrysler forward. In business, this is not a bad thing. Who wants to follow indecisive leaders? Organizations of any type cannot survive if their leader lacks vision and can’t inspire their workers to make the vision a reality.
That idea is what drew me to this passage. David is a powerful leader who was anointed by God to lead the people of Israel through tremendous struggles and difficulties for forty years. He made mistakes along the way, but as a leader of a nation, He set an example for the people to follow. This is one of those examples. David’s tenure as king is nearing an end and He is overseeing the gathering of gifts for the construction of the temple – a structure that God has chosen Solomon to build when he replaces David as king.
David’s response is to turn to God in prayer – more specifically a prayer of praise. David isn’t praying a wishy-washy, vague, “Do whatever you think is best” kind of prayer. He’s offering praise, serious praise to God for what He has done. He establishes God’s role as our great provider. He exalts God for his power and greatness. David thanks God for the provision He has provided in abundance. He seeks God’s direction to help him and the people as they embark on this great undertaking – knowing full well that what they were doing was to be for the honor and glory of God. It’s a strong prayer, a powerful example, and a mountaintop moment demonstrating David’s leadership skills. But unlike Mr. Iacocca, there is a very important difference. Where Lee says to lead, follow, or get out of the way, David calls the people to lead, to follow, AND get out of the way.
David is leading the people to the face of God through His prayer. What an important demonstration of leadership for the nation. David shows the people that he is serious about his relationship with God, and they follow his example. Today’s leaders (pastors, teachers, parents, politicians, and anyone else who stands in a place of authority) share that same duty to the people they lead to give that same example by what they say and more importantly by what they do – such as offering praise to God.
Next, David follows. He follows the words and the commands of God. He didn’t do it perfectly, but his deficiencies show us that we can also turn to God to seek and receive forgiveness. I know that as I work to live in right-standing with God, I need this reassurance to see me through those times that I feel like I can do nothing right.
Finally, David gets out of the way. Too many Christians want to live lives where they can negotiate with God. They seek piety with mutually agreed upon parameters like union reps and the upper management sitting down at the table to negotiate. What are we seeking? What is there to discuss? God already bought us, paying a hefty price through the death of Jesus Christ on our account. We can add nothing to this, so why try? Get out of the way and live in the knowledge of salvation. Or maybe it’s the flesh – my sinful self that is taking me to a place where I feel capable to solve my own problems and manage my own situation. Again, such a thought is foolish, selfish, and lacks trust in God to make things happen in your life. Avoid this by asking God to impart His wisdom upon your life and He will bring about amazing results.
May God reveal this truth to you today so that it will bring you closer to Him in all things. May the Holy Spirit empower us to lead boldly. Let the gospel of Jesus Christ compel us to follow Him, and may we do so with humility so our ego doesn’t deny us the chance to experience the fullness of the blessings God has provided us.
*Used with permission
Devotion by Richard Schumacher
LSEM Director of Programs & Services