A leader is a master of non-dependent living. This means that a leader is capable of not depending on another to be comfortable. A leader must not depend on anyone in order to command the respect of outsiders. A good leader must work hard in order to avoid begging in all its forms. There are many different forms of begging. No matter the form, begging is what it is – begging! Begging is begging whether presidents, politicians or pastors are doing it!
Begging is begging even when it is given respectable descriptions such as “seeking investors,” “seeking aid” or “attending donor conferences.” The alternative to depending on others is to mind your own business and work with your own hands.
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and SO THAT YOU WILL NOT BE DEPENDENT ON ANYBODY.
1 Thessalonians 4:11 (NIV)
The Bible encourages everyone to mind his own business and work with his own hands. The Bible continues to provide the reason for this – “so that you will not be dependent on anyone.” Why do you go around begging and asking for things? Have you never read when David said, “… I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread” (Psalm 37:25). Do you not feel ashamed to be living your life hoping for someone to give you something? Do you think outsiders have any respect for you when you depend on them continually? They do not! Read the scripture carefully and meditate on it. “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody” (1 Thessalonians 4:11).
The snake demonstrates that they are masters of independent living. They are able to survive on their own from the day they are born. If a leader wishes to be as wise as a serpent, he must be able to be non-dependent.
Many nations that were colonised have not been able to survive without their colonial masters. They seem not to be capable of non-dependence where their colonial masters are concerned.
If a leader is as wise as a serpent, he will live his life not expecting money, gifts, grants, donations or even loans. He will not live a life of dependence on others.
And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, LEST THOU SHOULDEST SAY, I HAVE MADE ABRAM RICH: Genesis 14:22-23
Abraham did not need anybody to make him rich. In fact, he did not want anybody to think that they had made him rich. He wanted to work hard with his hands and not be dependent on anybody.
When someone is incapable of independent living, he often expects people to give him something. Many underdeveloped nations look to the developed nations, expecting to receive something. The fact that you even think that someone will come to your aid shows that you are incapable of a non-dependent life.
Do not expect that any outsider will make you rich. Why are you always looking, hoping and expecting a gift, a loan or handouts? Dear leader, learn from the wisdom of the serpent to be non-dependent. Do not lead your people to be dependent on another group of people. That takes away from how noble you could be. Sometimes some incapable leaders throw dust in your eyes when they announce that they are seeking loans to embark on projects. Often, there is no need for the loan. They may simply need to cut out waste, corruption and poor management of resources. You must lead your life in a way that will make you independent of an external donor.
Let us learn from the serpent. Serpents are independent from the day they are born and are able to successfully live apart from their parents. Most snakes can kill from the day they are born and often live alone from the first day of their lives. Unlike certain nations that need handouts and gifts from other nations in order to survive, serpents need no assistance and are able to launch out into a successful independent life. May you be a leader who is non-dependent! May you be a leader who leads his people to mind their own business and work with their own hands!
By Dag Heward-Mills