Summary: This is a devotional written for my leadership board meeting on having the mind and heart of leadership
The Heart and Mind of Leadership
Leadership Team Devotional
September 10, 2002
I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
Jesus tells us that we are to be shrewd minded and soft hearted. This seems to be a strange and often difficult combination. A combination that we do not often embrace today in our churches. Too many churches today have this turned around and have become soft minded and shrewd hearted.
Soft Minded Leadership
We become soft minded when we fail to find the reasons that we believe and the proof to defend our faith. We become soft minded when we throw common sense out the window and allow people to continually take advantage of us. We become soft minded when we approach the future of our church with no vision and no plan to act. We become soft minded when we fail to study the Word of God on a personal basis and affirm our beliefs.
Let the mind of the master be the master of your mind.
Shrewd Hearted Leadership
We become shrewd minded when we pass judgment on other people. We become shrewd hearted when we treat other people with less grace than we have received from Christ. We become shrewd hearted when we expect others to do those things that we are not willing to do ourselves.
Heart is used in Scripture as the most comprehensive term for the authentic person. It is the part of our being where we desire, deliberate, and decide. It has been described as "the place of conscious and decisive spiritual activity," "the comprehensive term for a person as a whole; his feelings, desires, passions, thought, understanding and will," and "the center of a person. The place to which God turns."
Joseph M. Stowell
Our likeness to Snakes
Therefore be as shrewd as snakes
A. The meaning of shrewd
Webster: To be shrewd is to be acute in perception and sound in judgment
The New Testament Meaning
In the ancient Near East the snake was seen as a creature of great wisdom and cunning. The snake was known to be shrewd in its actions meaning that it acted in a way that was effective.
The term shrewd has a deeper meaning that gives the impression of acting with wisdom and with cunning. It is acting in a way that is effective and full of effort
B. The application to the disciple’s life
We are to be people of vision and internal motivation. We are to be people who are wise with our words, our action and the resources that God has given us. We need to know the right time to strike and the right time to back off. We are to seize the opportunities of the Kingdom as they arise and give those opportunities our best efforts.
Our likeness to Doves
And innocent as doves
A. The symbolism of the dove
The dove was a symbol of peace because of its non-violent nature. The dove was seen as a symbol of purity because of its natural innocence. Doves were creatures that were harmless and caused no threat.
B. The meaning for the leader
Leaders are to act out of a sense of meekness; literally as power under control. If we are truly following Christ and doing His work then we should live under His control. Leaders are to cause no harm and to act in ways that do not offend needlessly. Far too often we speak first and think second.
Do you have the heart and the mind of leadership?
Our leadership should flow from a shrewd mind and a soft heart. Our goal is to not focus needlessly over trivial things that have no eternal significance and put our priorities where Jesus would have them.
Our leadership should not provoke others and we should not be provoked by others. Our leadership should guard against being wronged and work to wrong no one. Our leadership should move out of harm’s way and harm no one.
If we do not follow these simple instructions of Jesus we will find our leadership becoming unfocused and weak. In light of this, are you the leader that you need to be? What can you do to improve? What can you do to help others improve?