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Last week was a great time we shared together learning leadership under the umbrella of the Holy Spirit. This week again He has given us the opportunity to learn something new about leadership. To some it is not new, but a sort of bringing to their remembrance. However, to some, it is a revelation. Irrespective of the side of the divide you fall into, you are still welcome to this week’s edition of Leaderview.
Today we will be looking at something that is important for effective leadership, a matter for everyone that bothers on your leadership effectiveness. I have come to realise that while some rely on positions for effectiveness, different things for effectiveness, there is something that can give you effectiveness in your leadership. So we will be looking at leadership by value – why must you be followed, why must you be listened to and why must anyone follow you? And don’t forget we have been on the book of Genesis for some time now, and actually this is a continuation of the series that we began some weeks ago tagged Leadership Trip to the Book of Genesis. It has been a wonderful time together I believe.
Listen to Audio Podcast – Leadership By Value: Why Must You Be Followed?
Today we will be examining Genesis chapter four from the Amplified Bible and I believe very strongly that the Lord has a message for you and He has a message for me to walk with and to live for. Leadership by value, we will learn some lessons from two characters in the bible, two pioneering leaders and men that gave their lives as examples of what it means to live or lead by value. Let us go to that book of Genesis 4 from verse 1. The Bible says:
4 Now the man Adam knew Eve as his wife, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have obtained a man (baby boy, son) with the help of the Lord.” 2 And [later] she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept the flocks [of sheep and goats], but Cain cultivated the ground. 3 And in the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground. 4 But Abel brought [an offering of] the [finest] firstborn of his flock and the fat portions. And the Lord had respect (regard) for Abel and for his offering; 5 but for Cain and his offering He had no respect. So Cain became extremely angry (indignant), and he looked annoyed and hostile.
If we pause there, we can see something. The Bible says Adam knew his wife and she conceived and she gave birth to Cain and again she conceived and gave birth to Abel, showing that there was an order, there was the first and then the second son. So the first son by virtue of the order of birth assumes leadership, leadership by birth. There is something about leadership by birth, it is more or less like leadership by position. It gives you a position of influence, relevance and authority in your family. Now when you speak, everyone listens simply because you are the first born. If your relevance and influence is tied to that, your authority will be limited as a leader.
Now by virtue of the order of birth, Cain had influence, he was assumed to be the one in the position of authority because he was born first. But let us see if Cain was able to sustain his leadership momentum by virtue of the order of his birth as we continue reading that Genesis 4.
For some people that are very familiar with this Scripture, I am sure you know this story that we are reading already. But let us try and focus on some words being used in the passage and not lose focus. It says ‘Now‘ for Abel and the word ‘But‘ for Cain when it was describing their vocation. Many people believe that the word ‘but‘ connotes negativity or something that is not ideal or morally standard. But is used to express things that are not right or palatable either about a thing or a person.
So, by virtue of their vocation, Abel was a Shepherd of the sheep while Cain became a cultivator of the ground. Now come to think of it, the shepherd of the sheep and goats and the one who cultivates the ground, which of these vocations is more demanding and challenging? Which of them demands character and which of them demands physical strength? Now if you note the two of them, they have chosen career paths that require them to be committed and labour, but one of the vocations is more demanding on the character of the persons involved while the other is less demanding in terms of character.
Now look at a shepherd and the one who cultivates the ground. As the one who tills the ground, you do not need much of character. You could get angry and then hit the ground with your cutlass or hoe, or you can even abandon the ground and walk away to come back later. But you know a shepherd cannot get angry with the sheep and then hit them with the stone. You would simply kill them as a shepherd if you do that. So, one career required the one in it to become a better person while the other career required the person in it to just be there and then do something or anything he deems fit. As the tiller of ground, you just need your strength to do what you do, but as the one who raises animal, you needed to show care and give attention, you needed to be there all the time for the sheep.
So, by virtue of their vocation, these two leaders began differently and tended towards different destinations, by virtues of their vocation, the things they committed themselves to. Don’t forget some weeks ago, we realise that the blessings of God is on leaders, but not on them as a persons, but on their works. And so, as they were working, they were blessed. Bible says the Lord blesses the works of your hands. So, until a leader has a work in his hands, he does not get blessed. Now for these two leaders, they had works. One was a keeper of sheep and the other simply tills the ground. However, because of the peculiarities of their works, they became different entities. And I want us to watch that, how you and I can become different simply by the vocation that we have chosen for ourselves; how that you can become more patient than I simply because your job requires you to be more patient. How you can become more tolerant to criticism simply because your job has given you that kind of environment.
I am sure you know that you can become a better person simply because of the demands of your job and your situation can also become worse by the fact that you have accepted a wrong vocation. If you treat people anyhow or talk to people anyhow, it might have been as a result of the work you are doing, your job or your career. So, if you must be effective and have a value to offer, if people must or will consider to follow you, then you must watch the jobs that you have given to yourself or that you have accepted. Let us continue from verse 4 of that Genesis that we began with.
4 But Abel brought [an offering of] the [finest] firstborn of his flock and the fat portions. And the Lord had respect (regard) for Abel and for his offering; 5 but for Cain and his offering He had no respect. So Cain became extremely angry (indignant), and he looked annoyed and hostile.
Now if you also see the order here, Cain brought something first; however, you must take note of how God responded to Cain and to the things he brought. Cain was a tiller of the ground and what he brought to the Lord as offering he got from the land. Now by virtue of the order of birth, Cain was the first. He had a position that put him in control. Haven been in that leadership position, he brought a kind of ‘thank you‘ offering to God. But the Bible recorded that God had respect for the offerings that Abel brought and not the offering Cain brought. So it means God did not consider Cain and his offering. God did not respect Cain and his offering – both he and his offering were both rejected.
God was not moved by Cain’s offering. So, it means because God did not accept him, it was therefore impossible for God to accept his offering as well. It only then means that God must first consider you before He considers the labour or your work. Don’t forget the bible says the labour of your work, God blesses it. So, if God does not bless you, He cannot bless your work. Now for Cain, God did not approve and affirm or commend his work simply because God could not commend or approve him.
And so, if you must be a valuable leader, one that gets the affirmation and approval of your people, then you must give attention to the kind of person that you are becoming and the kind of works that you are producing. Don’t forget, until your people accept you, they cannot accept the things that you do. Check the things you do, have they been making you a different person over time? You must to watch that.
That is the word that has been laid in my heart today and I believe strongly that it is a word for now. Leadership is not by position and many things that we think, leadership is by value. If you will be listened to, then it has to be by the things that you offer. Now in a bit to add value, have you been losing yourself? Have you been losing your character and authority? If you must be accepted, and the things you are doing must be accepted, then you must make your life an acceptable life. You must make your leadership an acceptable leadership. The kind of person you are becoming must not be left to chance. It must be put under control. You must become a man that people can listen to your words because if your words would not be thrown away, then they must never throw you away.
Become a man that people can accept, so that they can accept the words you are speaking. That is the word that has been laid in my heart and I believe it is the word of God for you. Till next week, I want you to watch the man or the woman that you are becoming, it is very important to God as well, to your destiny.
God bless you!