Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you (Hebrews 13:17).
Leaders can become so familiar with their team that they dilute their effectiveness to lead. They are not one of the boys or one of the girls—they are the leader. Parents have to learn this. They are not the child or teenager’s friend—they are first the dad or mom. Friendship can come later with adult children; in the meantime, they need leadership.
So how familiar are you with those you lead? Are you respectful of others so you invite their respect? Do you lift them up with commendation or tear them down with coarse kidding? Joking around on the job is not a pattern great leaders model. This may have been your behavior in the past, but in the present your role requires more maturity.
Does this mean leaders are not transparent about their weaknesses? No, because humble leaders are the first to confess their struggles and blind spots. But it does mean that wise leaders approach their God-given role with solemn responsibility and serious resolve. People need leaders they can trust and look up to as the Lord’s leaders for this season.
We do not want those we lead to pray as David did: “May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership” (Psalm 109:8). Followers want to be led by a wise leader.
Moreover, when we become too close to a team member, it creates jealousy, rivalry, and resentment. This happens with children. If we play favorites with a child, other siblings will notice and spew out their frustrations on the parent’s pet. We can reward good behavior and praise obedience, but we should not overdo it by crossing the line of becoming too familiar.
Leadership can be lonely, but we are not alone as followers of Jesus. Wise leaders keep their emotions under the Spirit’s control in the presence of their team, but in the presence of the Lord they bare their soul. You cannot become too familiar with your heavenly Father. He already knows more about you than you do. Pour out your frustrations and fears to Him, and He will listen, forgive, and lead you in the way you should go.
My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, "Where is your God?" These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God (Psalm 42:3–5).
Prayer: Do I look to the Lord to lead me? How can I lovingly lead with honesty and respect?
Related Readings: Exodus 18:13–16; Zechariah 12:5–6; John 12:42; Hebrews 13:7