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Integrity in Leadership - Episode 12

Welcome to Coaching Christian Leaders. My name is Mark Jones and I coach Christian Leaders. Today we will be looking at the first of many biblical teachings on leadership.

When I meet with leaders, a common statement that I hear from them is this, “I just want to finish well.” I can appreciate that. I too want to finish well. But what I believe these leaders are really saying is that they want to maintain their integrity throughout their time of service.
So today the biblical leadership topic we will focus on is integrity.

Open your Bible to Psalm 78 and find your way to verse 70. Let's look at 70-72.

He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.

God chose David to lead Israel. And David led Israel as a shepherd. He had been a shepherd for his earthly father. But he became a shepherd for the Heavenly Father.

Like David, I believe God has called you to your place of leadership. He has chosen you to lead as David led. God has placed you, with your unique gifts and talents in this place of leadership.

It is interesting to me that Asaph, the man God used to pen this psalm, viewed David’s leadership as shepherding. A shepherd feeds the flock. A shepherd protects the flock. A shepherd leads the flock. Was this style of leadership, shepherding, unique to David? I don’t think so. I believe God has placed you in a similar place to do a like work.

But the reason we have come to this Psalm is verse 72. Let’s look at the easy part first. The easy part is the last half of the verse. It says about David that he, “guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.” Charles Spurgeon, in his Treasury of David, writes about this phrase. Spurgeon writes, “He was a sagacious ruler” ..... To be truthful, I did not know the word “sagacious.”  I had to look it up. It means, having or showing keen mental discernment and good judgment – to be wise, to be clever.

From what I know of David, he was a good administrator, a clever diplomat, he was intelligent.  So David was clever, he was intelligent, he was “sagacious.” But it is the first half of verse 72 that makes me pause. Here it is once again,  So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart. Integrity of heart – Did you see that? Maybe Asaph forgot about Bathsheba and Uriah?

Remember earlier, I told you that many leaders I meet with want to finish well. I told you that I too want to finish well. But what about the start of our leadership or the middle of it? Shouldn’t we want these to also reflect integrity? Certainly! If we look at the early years of David’s leadership, those years were models of integrity. And from what we know of David’s later years, they too seem to be good years.

Barnes in his commentary writes, “Save in the matter of Uriah .... his administration was eminently just, pure, impartial, wise,......” Yes, save in the matter of Uriah.

To be fair to David, he did repent, he did pay a great price for his sin, and he did rebound to “finish well.” All of us can blow it. Anyone of us can fail. And we can fail like David. When we do, let us repent and seek the Savior’s forgiveness. Better yet, let us ask God to help us lead with integrity in all phases of our leadership – the beginning, the middle, and the end.

Coaching Questions

Now here are two coaching questions for you. Think them over and write down your answers.
  1. When you are 95 years old what will you want people to say about your life? Think about that for a minute. Sometimes people will capture this idea by writing their own eulogy. With David, we say “He led with integrity of heart.” But we also say, “What about Bathsheba and Uriah?” How will people remember you?
  2. Question number two is based on the proverbial fork in the road. That is often the case with integrity. Do you take the path to the right or to the left; the straight path or the crooked path? Here is a question that you can use when you find yourself standing before that fork. How will this decision impact God’s purpose for my life? God has placed you here to lead. So any decision you make can impact God’s purpose for you. Think back on David and the impact his decisions made on him, his family, and even his calling.

Closing Thoughts

Thanks for listening to this episode of Coaching Christian Leaders.
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