Psalm 78 is a type of history lesson for the people of God, recounting God’s faithful guiding of His people in spite of their consistent failure and unfaithfulness. Then at the very end of the Psalm attention turns to how God raised up David to lead the people. By any measure, David was a tremendously effective leader. He was a warrior, administrator, and visionary leader of a nation. One verse sums up David’s leadership…
“So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, And guided them with his skillful hands.” (Psalm 78:72, NASB95)
This one verse is a tremendous summation of effective leadership. First of all, effective leadership flows from who we are – our integrity. This statement in no way implies perfection. All of us have feet of clay. All of us have blind spots. We know David even went through a time when he fell into terrible sin. However, the “norm” of David’s leadership was integrity. All leaders need to remember that people ultimately don’t follow our position – they ultimately follow US. Those we lead must see our integrity.
Leadership also flows from our leadership skills and practicing effective leadership. “His skillful hands” means that David made leadership decisions that were wise and produced results. It isn’t enough just to be loved as a leader. It isn’t enough for people to hold us in high esteem. We must lead people somewhere. We must benefit others and our organizations because we are in the positions we hold.
There it is. The two wings of the leadership airplane: the integrity of our heart and the skillfulness of our hands. Everywhere we look people are suffering due to a lack of leadership. Families are suffering. Churches are suffering. Businesses and organizations are suffering. Government is suffering. There is an abundance of problems and a dearth of leaders.
Let me share with a little known fact: almost everyone is a leader. Why do I say that? Almost everyone influences someone else. You may not be a Senior Pastor or a CEO, but you are a leader if you are influencing even one person. Be a leader in your marriage. Be a leader in your friendships. Be a leader on your team. Be a leader at your school. Be a leader at your workplace. Be a leader in your church. Be a leader your neighborhood. Remember, there is an abundance of problems and a dearth of leaders.
Lord, give us leaders who will guide people with the integrity of their hearts and the skillfulness of their hands.