In order for any organization to function, there must be a system of authority and persons to administer it. To that extent, tyrants, bosses, and leaders are alike. It is their motivation and how they choose to exercise their authority that separates and distinguishes one from the other.
In the natural realm, the authority is established and enforced through each organization’s mission statement, policies, and procedures. Depending on the political environment, the authority and policies are tempered with the restrictions and requirements that the secular government imposes.
In the spiritual realm there is no justification for tyrants, but there have been many. The ultimate authority is God. He forces His ways on no one, and neither should anyone else who are in positions of delegated authority within the establishments that He has ordained. The one exception is the parent-child relationship. In the parent-child relationship, the parent must enforce certain principles via example and discipline, but must also be aware of where parental authority begins and ends. The purpose of parental authority is not only to train a child, but also to establish the principle of submitting to authority. Failure to do so will result in a person who will have to learn this basic truth of life the hard way.
Persons in positions of authority in the spiritual realm must have an attitude of being a servant, and not a boss (Matt. 20: 25,26) and never a tyrant.
A boss imposes his authority and demands full compliance. The development, if any, of his subordinates is at best a matter of coincidence or the means of self-promotion. “Bosses” are insensitive, implacable, and unapproachable. They desire no input from anyone since they believe their ways are always correct and best. They are often ambitious and any challenge to them or their ways is treated as something or someone to be eliminated.
On the other hand, although a leader must also be recognized as the delegated authority figure, his approach is to serve, inspire, and contribute to the growth and well being of his subordinates, even at the cost of self-sacrifice.
God has delegated authority to officials in the secular government (Rom. 13), the husband (Gen. 3:16/Eph.5: 23, 24), parents (Eph.6: 1), and the pastor-teachers (Heb.13: 7, 17). Knowing each one’s purpose and where his authority begins and ends is what separates the leaders from the tyrants.
When you are a “boss”, most people will do as you demand in order to avoid confrontation, but they will also find ways to do as little as possible in the process. This should NOT to be the attitude of a Christian (Col.3: 22, 23), but it is the way it is by people at large and often by those who claim to be Christians as well.
When you are a leader, you will foster the principle of self worth and significant contribution of the work of your subordinates. You will be seen as one who inspires. When necessary, your input will be received as corrective criticism of the work or performance, but never a personal critique of the person involved.
Tyrants are despised, bosses are compulsorily obeyed, but leaders are willingly followed.
We are not all called to be “leaders” in the sense of holding a position of authority in either the natural or spiritual realm, but we are all called to be leaders when it comes to the issue of discipleship. If any of us have to announce to others in our personal periphery that we are Christians, there is something dramatically wrong with our spiritual life. If we live a lifestyle consistent with Bible doctrine in the devil’s world, people cannot help but notice. This is what generates inquirers and the opportunity to witness to others (1Pet.3: 15).
The truth is that everyone we interact with is either led one step closer or pushed one step further away from what true spirituality is all about.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (R) Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All Rights reserved.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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