We need leaders who have the wisdom and strength to navigate the challenges before us. At every level we need leadership we can trust to use the power and resources at its disposal for the good of those under their care. The decisions made by business owners, government officials, church leaders, school administrators, health care workers and so many others have a direct impact on our day to day lives. How they lead matters.
Solomon understood leadership. He was the son of a king and later became a king himself. It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to possess the wisdom, wealth, power, international prestige and influence he enjoyed. He was responsible for making complex decisions, forming strategic alliances, resolving internal conflicts and navigating messy politics. And in light of all he experienced – good and bad – he understood that wise, strong, God-honoring leadership is ultimately a matter of the heart.
“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hands of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.” Proverbs 21:1
Much like the teaching of Jesus, Solomon knew that a leader’s conduct, priorities and character are a window into his heart. What a leader says and does, as well as how and why they do it reflects what is going on internally. In other words, leadership can’t be reduced to a set of external practices. It’s about who a person is, not just what they do.
Consider two things Solomon says in Proverbs about a godly leader’s heart. First, their heart is in the Lord’s hands. Often people appeal to this verse to highlight the absolute sovereignty of God. And that is certainly true. But perhaps Solomon is describing a king who gives his heart to the Lord; a man who entrusts himself to the Lord and submits his plans to the Lord. Rather than a picture of God overruling the king’s decisions, the king is being upheld and guided by the mighty hands of God.
What does it look like for someone to surrender their life and leadership to the Lord in this way? It looks like humble reliance. It is freely admitting the limits of one’s understanding, resources and influence. It means acknowledging there are things that are beyond one’s control; no matter how hard they try, how much they know, or how much money they throw at it. Humble reliance on the Lord means doing what we can where we are with the resources we have been given, and trusting the Lord with the outcome. It is self-consciously placing all of who we are, what we have and what we do into the wise, gracious and powerful hands of a loving heavenly Father.
We need leaders whose hearts belong to the Lord. Are there areas of your life where you are coming face to face with your limits? Unresolved issues where your strength, understanding and resources just can’t fix the situation? God is calling you to trust him. He is inviting you to surrender yourself – heart, mind, soul and strength – into his capable care. And when you do, you’ll be in good hands.