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Lessons in Leadership

Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
—Philippians 2:4

Stuart Briscoe tells a story about a friend who was asked to preside at a military funeral. Some of the friends of the deceased soldier asked the pastor if at the end of the funeral, they could march in formation to the front of the casket and if the pastor would lead them in a very dignified way outside to the left. And so when the time came at the end of the funeral, the soldiers marched down to the front in formation. They stood at the casket. The pastor met them and, with military precision, he turned to the left and marched out, right into a broom closet instead of the exit. And the whole group had to beat a hasty retreat out of the broom closet to the real exit in front of all the mourners. Briscoe draws this conclusion from that episode. He said, “First of all, if you were a leader, you better know where you’re going and if you’re a follower, you better be sure you’re following a leader who knows what he’s doing.”

We’re living in an age when churches, businesses, and governments are crying out for true leaders. Never has there been a leadership vacuum like there is right now. People are looking for leaders who demonstrate humility—that is, they are willing to place the interest of those they are leading above their own personal interest. And people are looking for leaders who exhibit wisdom—that is, they have insight in how to solve problems. As we are going to see this week, Joseph was that kind of leader. He was a leader who was characterized by humility and a leader who had wisdom.

This week we will look at Genesis 47. Now remember last week we saw that Joseph had arranged for all of his family–his father, Jacob, and his brothers and their families–to come to Egypt. This was not just for a family reunion, but Egypt would be the place where Joseph’s family would reside for 400 years, until they became the nation of Israel. This move was all part of God’s plan. So Joseph leads them into the land. He gets them all where they need to be so that they can survive that famine.

But Joseph’s work was not over. Even after the big celebration, he still faced two formidable challenges. First, Joseph had to assimilate his family into that pagan Egyptian culture. He had to make them feel comfortable; the Egyptians had to accept them as well. And second, Joseph had to preside over this famine. He was governor. He had to navigate the nation of Egypt through this economic crisis. This week, we can observe several important lessons in leadership from the life of Joseph.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Lessons in Leadership” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.


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