The Contrast of a Leader

“Men, I can see this voyage is headed for damage and heavy loss.” The Apostle Paul

The spiritual faith of a leader must supersede the reality he knows.

ship sunk.jpg

Acts 27:30 Some sailors tried to escape from the ship; they had let down the skiff into the sea, pretending that they were going to put out anchors from the bow.

I’m not sure who called the media, but the newscast was less than favorable. A local businessman, John, was painted as cruel and heartless after asking a large group of homeless to leave his property. They had lived there for some time supported by a ministry that had garnered permission to use John’s modular homes for homeless shelter. But the ministry had disbanded leaving the homeless on this man’s property to fend for themselves. John called me asking if I could help. He was being lambasted publicly by the news for telling them to leave and yet knew he couldn’t allow the homeless camp to grow on his property without proper supervision.  I agreed to help and a team from our mission took over with a timeline to close down the operation.

I’ll never forget walking into the administration offices of this ministry. The food, files, copiers, and Christian paraphernalia appeared to have been abandoned in a hurry. The leadership had simply walked out the door.  They jumped ship!  And John, myself and our team were left to deal with it as it sank.

This chapter deals directly with leadership.

First, consider Paul’s example. He is one among three groups traveling to Rome. There are sailors, soldiers, and prisoners.  Within each of these groups, there’s certainly a leadership structure in place. Even among the prisoners, a pecking order of sorts is common. Yet, Paul, belonging to the group of prisoners speaks boldly to all: “Men, I can see this voyage is headed for damage and heavy loss.” Scripture tells us the majority decided otherwise.

Lesson 1: The voice of a leader isn’t swayed by a majority of other voices.

Of these three groups – the prisoners, the soldiers and the sailors – which one had the responsibility to lead the ship safely to shore? The sailors, of course.  And yet, it is this very group that drops the skiff to escape the ship’s destruction. Knowing the structural integrity of your “ship” whether that be a ministry, a school or a business is certainly one responsibility of a leader.  When that integrity is challenged ignorance can be bliss, but for the leader who has a greater understanding of the stresses his or her ship can sustain, the knowledge of it can be a source of fear.  These sailors knew the ship was doomed and the fear of it drove them to an escape-attempt…from their ultimate responsibility.

Lesson 2: The spiritual faith of a leader must supersede the reality he knows.

Through all of this, Paul is instructing and encouraging.  He guides the centurion to cut the skiff free. He encourages the men to eat. He give thanks to God after 14 days of being lost and tossed in a violent sea.  Consider his demeanor.  What would yours be like?  When it seems the ship is going down, how will you respond? Unfortunately panic is typical.  Consider, though, that panic is almost always a self-centered response.  This type of heightened worry stems from a fear of personal loss, maybe even loss of life. Look again at Paul’s focus. He’s concerned about others; specifically, their safety, their strength and their state of mind.

Lesson 3: The focus of a leader must be  on those he serves more than on himself. Panic is not an option.

The many reasoned why they should set sail from Crete, why they should jump ship in the storm, and why they should give up hope in the end.

Paul voiced what he believed, acted on it and then enjoined others in his peace and confidence.

The contrast of a leader.

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