Wisdom Wedneday: Wisdom for Leadership from the Wisdom of Solomon

A lot of people want to be in leadership roles just like a lot of people want to be a body builder.

But the problem is that very few people want to put in the work necessary to be a good leader, nor the work necessary to be a big bodybuilder.

To be a good leader one needs to:

  1. Have a picture for how things can be better.

  2. Be good at following (treat others as you wish to be treated)

  3. Have wisdom for accomplishing the necessary tasks.

The author of the Wisdom of Solomon caught on to the fact that many people want to be leaders but do not want to put any of the work in that would make them fit for the task. And indeed, leaders, because they’re supposed to know these things are more accoutnable for these failures. And not only so, but Christian leaders are supposed to have plans that lead to the good as prescribed by God and discovered by reason.

Wis 6:1-6 (Brenton) Hear therefore, O ye kings, and understand; learn, ye that be judges of the ends of the earth. (2) Give ear, ye that rule the people, and glory in the multitude of nations. (3) For power is given you of the Lord, and sovereignty from the Highest, who shall try your works, and search out your counsels. (4) Because, being ministers of his kingdom, ye have not judged aright, nor kept the law, nor walked after the counsel of God; (5) Horribly and speedily shall he come upon you: for a sharp judgment shall be to them that be in high places. (6) For mercy will soon pardon the meanest: but mighty men shall be mightily tormented.

Later in the chapter, the author observes that those who want to be wise must set themselves to the task to honoring (treating as valuable) wisdom so that they might actually prolong their leadership.

Wis 6:21 (Brenton) If your delight be then in thrones and sceptres, O ye kings of the people, honour wisdom, that ye may reign for evermore.

But how are leaders to find wisdom? What does it mean for a leader to honor wisdom?

Wis 6:12-14 (Brenton) Wisdom is glorious, and never fadeth away: yea, she is easily seen of them that love her, and found of such as seek her. (13) She preventeth them that desire her, in making herself first known unto them. (14) Whoso seeketh her early shall have no great travail: for he shall find her sitting at his doors.

The idea here is this, for those who love wisdom, it’s easy to find. But it’s hard to find wisdom at first. But, if you do the difficult task of waking up early to study, meditate, pray, and plan then wisdom comes easily and as a matter of course.

I would say that any leader (teacher, parent, pastor, manager) should wake up early enough to grow in wisdom each day before setting about to work.

Tools for Christian Leaders by Dallas Willard

I rarely weep.

When I heard that Dallas Willard died, I did.

Few authors have so helped me see Christ, his goodness, and the greatness of his kingdom.

Since his death various essays, talks, and interviews keep appearing in compilation volumes. InĀ Renewing the Christian Mind is transcript of a talk Willard gave off the cuff in which he gave some principles for how to lead in a Christian organization. Here are some of the principles he outlined in my own words (not in the order of the book):

  1. Write regularly. Willard thought it was imporant for pastors to write because it “is one of the surest ways to hone your sense of what you’re saying. (430)” I’d agree with that. Writing has made me a clearer thinking and speaker. Under this heading he also recommends copying things out of books. This is, in fact, one of the greatest tools for learning available.
  2. “Know your Bible. (431)” This should be obvious. But I’ve been teased by pastors and other seminary students for learning the Biblical languages. So, it seems that some people aren’t very excited about this aspect of ministry. And I admit, that sometimes reading Scripture for extended periods can be difficult. But Willard says some challenging things here, “Set aside time so that you can read the New Testament five times in one week.” Whoa.
  3. “Grow in making distinctions for people. (432)” The idea is that simple distinctions can help people understand what you mean, what Scripture means, and offer ‘aha’ moments for people. For instance, the basic difference between affection (positive feelings toward) and love (intendingĀ to benefit) can help many people who don’t know what love is.
  4. Grow character rather than acquiring methods. Willard says that “Many people have tried to substitute results for what they lacked: joy, relationship, and character. (432)” His idea is that switching ministry techniques over and over again without being rooted and grounded in the love of God won’t help you or anybody else come to know the gospel.

Anyway, it’s a really cool book. I highly recommend it.