In December 2012, I wrote the first column on Leadership Lessons from the Bible. I started with three lessons from the book of Isaiah. (1) Call—Leaders must see the opportunity to lead, (2) Confidence—Leaders must possess the confidence to lead, and (3) Commitment—Leaders must have commitment to stay the course. I continued through the books of Prophecy and then on to the New Testament. This month we begin our journey through the Old Testament up to the books of Prophecy. At times there will be overlap with lessons from the New Testament and the books of Prophecy, but they are worth repeating.
Someone said the time from Adam to Abraham could be summed up with three words. Generation: In the beginning God created (1:12); Degeneration: Satan at work; and Regeneration: All people blessed through Abraham (2:1-3; 17:1-5). Here are three lessons from the period of Degeneration.
Leaders must know who to follow. Adam and Eve followed the wrong leader and see what happened (3:1-24). A woman caught in a snowstorm was not sure how she would get home. She called her husband who said, “Remember we live near the main highway, so just wait for a snowplow and follow it home.” She soon saw a snowplow and began following it. After thirty minutes the snowplow stopped. She pulled up beside the driver and complained that he didn’t seem to be getting anywhere, but wondered if it was alright to keep following him. He said, “Sure, I am ready to leave Walmart and go across the street and clean the parking lot of the Home Depot.” Sometimes leaders follow or model themselves after an incompetent leader, but it is even worse is when they follow a crafty, deceptive leader who does not take them where they need to go.
Leaders should not follow the crowd when it’s going the wrong way. Noah did not. The flood came and Noah, seven others, and tons of animals were saved (6:1-7). The popular way is often not the right way. Leadership is not about being popular; Leadership is about doing the right thing. Others will follow, if they know the leader is leading in the right direction rather than simply following the crowd.
Leaders should demonstrate humility. On the plains of Shinar, Men built the Tower of Babel to honor themselves; the result was bad (1:1-9). After much study of great companies, Leadership expert Jim Collins concluded that the key ingredient that allows a company to become great is having a leader who demonstrates personal humility. Two thousand years earlier, Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek (humble) for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)
Great leadership lessons can be learned from mistakes. We can learn from what happened in the Degenerative period in the early part of the book of Genesis.