So What’s Your Starting Place?

(This month’s To The Point is an excerpt from Dr. Steve Brown’s upcoming spring 2015 book, Leading Me – Eight Practices for a Christian Leader’s Most Important Assignment)

King David’s resume was pretty impressive. A gifted musician and poet. A bold and courageous warrior. A skilled strategist. A called, chosen and anointed leader. A man after God’s own heart. The list could go on and get much longer.

You might expect that David’s resume would produce some swagger, pride and independence. Instead, we find one of the great prayers in Scripture. It’s found in the psalms—twice, in case we might miss it. Here’s the prayer: “But as for me, I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; LORD, do not delay” (Psalm 70:5).

When I read this passage, I see three prerequisites for healthy leadership. The first is humility. David firmly proclaims that he is not a self-made man. Instead, he is both poor and needy. He’s a man who desperately needs God’s help.

The second prerequisite is dependence. David acknowledges that, above all things, God is his help and his deliverer. He chooses to depend on God rather than his own limited strength. The third prerequisite is trust. David chooses to trust in God. He not only declares God as his help and deliverer, he also trusts in God’s coming provision.

In contrast, it’s very interesting to look at Saul’s posture. His posture is exactly the opposite of David’s. Rather than a posture of humility, Saul exudes entitlement. He believes he should be king no matter what. Rather than dependence, Saul tries to independently maintain his reign by attempting to kill David and by being disobedient to God’s instructions concerning the Amalekites. Rather than trust, fearfulness is the driving force in Saul’s life. This is demonstrated in his paranoia toward David as well as his frantic and at times bizarre attempts to take matters into his own hands.

David’s prayer and posture of humility, dependence and trust are the starting place for getting traction on leading ourselves and others well. Whatever your resume looks like, you can’t live and lead God’s way on your own. We also simply can’t manufacture any significant or lasting change on our own.

Though some would see David’s posture of humility as weakness, it’s actually a strength in God’s economy. It invites and depends on God rather than self. It brings freedom rather than a burden that is impossible to carry.

So, what’s your starting place? Are you living and leading more like David (humility, trust and dependence) or Saul (pride, fear and independence)?

Whatever your circumstances and challenges today, King David’s simple but profound prayer is a great starting place as you live and lead, “But as for me, I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; LORD, do not delay” (Psalm 70:5).

To The Point,

Dr. Steve Brown