The Art of Leadership By Dag Heward-Mills
… be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
Jesus admonished us to be as wise as serpents and yet as harmless as doves! How does a leader become as wise as a serpent? One of the wise characteristics of serpents is that they do not depend on outsiders. Each snake lives a nondependent life.
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)
Serpents are wise because they do not depend on outsiders!
Snakes demonstrate that they are masters of independent living. They are able to survive on their own from the day they are born. To be wise as a serpent you must be able to be independent or non-dependent. It is a sorry sight to watch presidents of poor nations going around seeking gifts and loans from richer countries.
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). 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!
Unfortunately, many nations that were colonised have not been able to survive without their colonial masters. Many poor countries are failed states, incapable of governing themselves! They fought for independence but they are not independent at all. They celebrate independence every year when they should actually mourn their continued dependence!
Hopelessly incapable leaders have governed nations and led them on a downward spiral into deepening poverty. The fact that leaders are incapable of building roads between two cities, providing electricity, water, schools and hospitals is the evidence of poor and incapable leadership. To the leaders of some poor nations, leadership of a nation means going around to beg for money.
Serpents, on the other hand, 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.
Steps To Independent Living
- Accept that no one really cares about your condition. Therefore, you must care for yourself. Fight for yourself and strive to rise up independently.
- Develop a dislike for loans and gifts. Every admirer of gifts and loans is likely to fail in leadership. Many people do not pay back their loans.
- Do not have an expensive lifestyle. Cut your coat according to your size. Avoid grandiose and expensive things that others may be doing. There are people who do not fear debts and live happily using large sums of money, even though they owe a lot of money. Do not be deceived and do not follow bad examples because it will not end well.
- Cut out waste. Most poor nations waste half of their resources. That is why they are poor and incapable of developing themselves. They simply have not learnt to prevent wastage and corruption.
- Learn to do things yourself and with your own hands. Do it yourself. Some people love to sit aloof in an armchair and never roll up their sleeves to work with their own hands. They imagine that they are executives when they are not at that level. They function as the highest kind of executives and do not know much about the practical things that go on.
A leader must not depend on anyone in order to command the respect of outsiders. A leader must work hard in order to avoid begging in all its forms. 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)