Jesus of Nazareth was not exactly what the people had in mind for a leader. Nathanael, a potential apostle, said, “Examine the Scriptures yourself and see. Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (see John 1:45-46). Jesus neither a warrior nor royalty. He wasn’t exactly handsome, either, according to some writings. He not only came from the wrong side of town, he came from the wrong town. The man nobody would have considered wore the crown. Nothing that the learned ones could decipher from their libraries called for a carpenter king. Once again, God played surprise.
Few people consider themselves perfectly qualified to lead. We are influenced by the media as to what everyone and everything should look like. We know what Miss Malaysia should look like, just as we know what YBs and ministers should look like. It is easy to disqualify ourselves as leaders based on external characteristics alone. Yet we also live in times of great upheaval and surprise. Blasphemers are becoming worship leaders, minority-indigenous people are becoming Wakil Rakyats, criminals become Christian ministers. Leaders are coming out of the ‘wrong side’… with a fresh perspective.
The call to leadership can come from many directions and in many ways. The Old Testament indicates (at least) three ways that we are called to leadership: the burning heart, the burning bush, and the burning house.
The burning heart is the kind of call that David had. He said, “I’ll go fight the giant! It isn’t right that our people should tremble in their tents at his insults” (read 1 Samuel 17:33-37). The burning bush is the kind of call that Moses had. It is a surprise approach to getting someone’s attention. As you recall, Moses was called to leadership by seeing a miraculous burning bush (read Exodus 3:2-10). The burning house is the kind of call to leadership that Queen Esther had. Esther risking her life and certainly her social standing when she (and her uncle) try to stopped the enemies from killing all the Jews. She revealed her identity to the king, her husband, who in an embarrassed fury hanged Haman, the man who plotted the Jew’s destruction. Esther became a legendary leader among the Jews. She became a leader when her house was burning down.
Nearly every leader in the Scriptures had doubts at one time or another. They often felt underqualified, forsaken or abandoned. Yet those who were called were given the strength to carry out their missions. Then as now.
Jesus was another one of God’s surprises.
He came from the ‘wrong side.’
Which type of call to leadership have you experienced?
The burning heart?
The burning bush?
The burning house?
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.