For the past week or two I have been studying through the book of Acts in my devotions. As I have been studying Acts, I have seen several leadership principles I have been wanting to share. If you read my blog regularly, you know I love to write about leadership principles I see in Scripture. I was going to write a few posts about the leadership principles I have seen in Acts, but I realized all of them come back to one thing-humility. If there is any trait a Biblical leader must have it is humility. It’s not an easy trait to maintain and cultivate, but with God’s help we can be leaders known for our humility. Here are three ways to cultivate humility in leadership as seen in the book of Acts:
1. Don’t be afraid to serve behind the scenes. At the end of Acts 1 we see the disciples are faced with a situation-who is going to replace Judas. In verses 21-22 we see that whoever replaces Judas has to have been among them the whole time they were traveling with Jesus from the time He was baptized by John until His ascension. There was only two men who meet this criteria, one being a man by the name of Matthias. Peter prays and asks God to show them which man He has chosen for this job. God reveals to them Matthias was the man and so he replaced Judas. The reason this is so interesting is because we have not heard of this Matthias guy until now. He has been walking with the disciples and Jesus for years and we just now hear about him! What does this teach us? Sometimes we have to serve behind the scenes. Sometimes as leaders we have to go unnoticed and serve in the background while everyone else is getting the recognition. The first thing we can do to cultivate humility in leadership is be ok with serving behind the scenes. At the end of the day, it’s not about us anyways.
2. Always depend on God. Before Peter and the other disciples made their decision about who will replace Judas, Matthias or the other guy, they prayed and asked God for His will (Acts 1:24, 25). Many times in leadership we try to make all the decision on our own. We feel that as the leader we must call the shots. But if we want to be Biblical leaders who maintain humility, we must depend on God. Not just in making decision, but in everything we do. If you want to cultivate humility in leadership, you must get serious about depending on God.
3. Don’t allow any task to become to small for you do to. A lot of times in leadership we feel like there are some tasks that are just too “small” for us to do. For example, a lead pastor might not feel like it’s too small of a task for him to clean the bathrooms. That is a somewhat extreme example, but if we want to be leaders who have humility, we must realize we sometimes have to do those “small” tasks and get our hands dirty at times. If you’re in leadership and refuse to do something because it’s too “small” or “lower” than you, your probably struggling with pride and you need to cultivate humility. In Acts 6 a need arose-widows where getting neglecting in the daily distribution of food. Because the apostles were called to pray and minister through the Word so they equipped other faithful men to do this task of serving tables. One of the men chosen to serve tables was Stephen. What is interesting about that is a few chapters later you find out Stephen becomes the first Christian martyr. Stephen didn’t allow serving tables become too “small” of a task for him. He decided to start with a “small” task and obviously was faithful at it. If you want to cultivate humility in leadership, don’t ever allow a task to become “too small” for you to do.
I want to leave you with a verse that I believe drives all three of these points home. 1 Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you.” Because Matthias and Stephen humbled themselves and were servant leadership, God exalted them later on down the road. Sometimes we have to serve in those humble ways before God exalts us. The best thing a leader can do is humble himself before God and allow God to exalt him in the proper time-God’s timing.