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Vision in Leadership
Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” A leader must have vision. Notice that the verse says, “Where there is no vision.” The point is that a leader must have vision, not a vision. One is future. One is present. A leader must be able to look into the future, but he must be able to see the present first.
You must be in touch with what is going on around you. What is happening in the lives of the people you are leading? What direction are they headed? What direction do they need to go? More importantly, what direction does the Bible give as to where they should be heading?
The word vision, “to have sight, to see”. We are not looking forward, but looking at the present circumstances and situations. This requires you to know the people you are leading. You cannot lead someone to a higher level if you do not know where they are. You must start at the same point where they are.
Matthew 9:36 adds, “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” Generally, people struggle to get spiritual direction for themselves. Sometimes they do not even know they need direction. They need a shepherd. They need someone to show them the way.
Mark 6:34 adds to this verse, “And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.” Notice here that Jesus came out. He did not stay in a comfort zone, but came to where the people were. You can not lead when you are in your comfort zone. You must be among your people, so come out.
Next, notice that He had compassion. A God-given compassion will draw hurting people to you. The reason Christ had compassion was because the people were as sheep not having a shepherd. They were scattered. They needed someone to lead them out of their trouble.
Jesus did this by teaching them. Leaders teach. Leaders teach not just by word but by example. People will follow more by what you do, not as much by what you say. Consider Ephesians 6:4, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” The word nurture has to do with what we do by example. The word admonition has to do with what we say. The father here is leading his child by word and deed. Our flock may or may not be our children, but the same principle applies. Jesus taught by word, but He also taught by His perfect life.
Turn to Psalm 23. Here the Good Shepherd gives further instruction as to how to lead. Notice in verse 2 that it is the shepherd’s job to lead, not to push. People sometimes need rest and constant pushing and nagging will get them nowhere. They need to rest in shady, green pastures. They need to be led beside still waters. Sheep run from brooks and rivers that flow quickly. They will not drink. They must have the still waters of God’s Word.
A good leader will lead his flock to always do right and follow paths of righteousness (verse 3). He protects his flock (verse 4). He corrects and chastises his flock (verse 4).
Verse 5 shows that the good shepherd would protect and feed his flock even though there may have been wolves and other animals close by. He would bring healing by bringing the balm of oil to the injured.
The result of this kind of leading is found in verse 6. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
So what is your vision? What do you see for the people God has put in your charge? Continue leading them on til Jesus comes back.