A good leader knows about the reality of death but he does not throw himself at death because he knows that God will also satisfy him with long life. King David was a good leader. He believed in God and even wrote the wonderful promise of Scripture, “With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation” (Psalm 91:16). Even though David believed that God would satisfy him with long life, he also knew that there was just a step between him and death.
… but truly as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death.
1 Samuel 20:3
If you read the story of the life of Adoniram Judson, the missionary to Burma, you will gasp at the tragedies that he experienced. All these are part of the wars leaders are called to fight in. He recorded death upon death of his children, his wives and his friends. But he was a great man of faith and he was a good leader.
A good leader knows that he can die and others can also die. What are your plans in the event of death? What are your plans for and in the event of someone else's death? Most people do not like to think about the possibility of their deaths. People are superstitious and do not even like the mention of the subject. But a good leader knows that death is part of life! Are you a leader? What type of escape plan do you have in the event of death? What type of escape plan do you have when death strikes in your ministry? What will happen to your church if you die? Have you thought all these through?
Do You Have Someone to Take Your Place?
A leader must have people who can take his place. There are many large churches today that have one great pastor who has ministered successfully and powerfully for many years. If that pastor were to die, the church would be plunged into confusion. No one else would be able to step up into that great pastor's shoes. A good leader thinks about bearing fruit that abides. What is coming after you? Who will be able to do what you are doing as well as you are doing it now? Are you going to leave your ministry to the strongest, loudest and boldest associate?
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great died when he was only thirty-three years old. His death was so sudden that reports of his death were not immediately believed. He had no obvious or legitimate heir. On his deathbed, Alexander the Great was asked who should succeed him and inherit his vast kingdom. His terse reply was, “To the strongest!”
Indeed, many pastors leave their ministries and estates to the strongest, the loudest and the most forceful. Instead of the kingdom falling into the hands of the most qualified and the most appropriate, it is the strongest, the loudest, the boldest and the most impudent that take over everything.
When Alexander the great died, one party said he had passed his signet ring to Perdiccas, his bodyguard, thereby nominating him.
Another group felt that as his wife Roxanne was pregnant they should wait to see if his child would be a boy or a girl. This child turned out to be a boy, Alexander IV.
A third party also supported Alexander's half-brother called Philip Arrhidaeus. In the end, Alexander IV, the baby, and Philip Arrhidaeus were appointed as joint kings.
However, confusion soon broke out and forty years of war between these different successors ensued. In the process, the three possible successors Perdiccas, Philip Arrhidaeus and Alexander IV were all murdered. In the end, Alexander the Great's kingdom was divided into four blocks and ruled by four of Alexander's generals. As you can see, it is not such a good idea to leave everything “to the strongest”.
A leader knows that death is something that happens when you fight. He knows that death is something that happens when there is a war. You cannot be a good leader if you do not accept the reality of death. A leader can die in the midst of the battle! His friends and associates can die fighting by his side! His spouse can die! His children can die!
Do you not want your ministry to grow from strength to strength even when you are gone? Then do not leave all you have achieved “to the strongest”. Make a will and make things clear. God will anoint the person you choose so that your ministry will carry on long after you are gone. Remember that though good leader knows that death can happen, he does not throw himself at death!
Culled from “A Good General”
By Dag Heward-Mills