Groomed leaders of David
David was a charismatic and strong leader. His Kingdom is considered as the best for the Israel. The golden era of Israel did not just happen by David, but with a galaxy of leaders David had around him. There is a long list of David’s mighty men listed. Their contribution is also provided with some details. “Now these are the chiefs of David’s mighty men, who gave him strong support in his kingdom, together with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the Lord concerning Israel.” (I Chronicles 11:10)
There are several leadership and management insights hidden in these passages. It is amazing to understand the team spirit, motivation, and achievements to the credit of these young people. “ Three of the thirty chief men went down to the rock to David at the cave of Adullam, when the army of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then at Bethlehem. And David said longingly, “Oh that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!” Then the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate and took it and brought it to David. But David would not drink it. He poured it out to the Lord and said, “Far be it from me before my God that I should do this. Shall I drink the lifeblood of these men? For at the risk of their lives they brought it.” Therefore he would not drink it. These things did the three mighty men.” (I Chronicles 11:15-19)
These three men demonstrated great precision, skill, professionalism, commitment and perfect execution. Let us learn lessons from these young people.
- Love for David
The motivating factor for the three young people to do this feat was their love for David. It might be a fact that they were provided dignity, honour and opportunity by David to serve the Kingdom of Israel and God. They were grateful to the love of David. The three soldiers were not competing for gallantry awards or army decorations.
As Christians, our deeds should be grateful expression of love of God that has been showered upon us. God has loved us first and we just respond to his amazing love. (I John 4:19) Lukewarm Christian life is not acceptable to God. (Revelation 3:16) Our motivation should not be other factors like: fame, money, ego…etc.
These young men were loyal to David. Their level of commitment was high. There is no dearth of people with high Intelligence Quotient. There are people with good Emotional Quotient also. Many people are spiritual and love the Lord. However, when it comes to commitment, there is a great lack.
Volunteers in the churches are sometimes disappointment. Young people who promise to teach in Sunday Classes for children disappear after two weeks without trace. Volunteer worship leaders come late and go direct to the stage. If these good Christians cannot keep up the commitment in the church, how will they keep their commitments in their daily lives?
The young soldiers understood that their ultimate commitment is to God and not just to David or the Kingdom of Israel. When we do the work of God, we should understand that our commitment is to the Lord and not just to the pastor or church or organization or denomination. “When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Let not your mouth lead you[c] into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands? (Eccl 5: 4-5)
- Desire to fulfill the desire of the master
And David said longingly, “Oh that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!” (I Chron 11:17) There was no commandment, no commission, no order or no compulsion. Indeed, it was a casual remark. It is something like saying: “How great it would be to have Paradise biryani?” Nevertheless the three youngsters took on themselves to fulfill a small or petty desire of their leader. As Christians do we pick up the signals of our master’s desire. That happens only in the context of intimate relationship and excellent communication.
- Desire of master becomes the vision
For the youngsters, the desire of their master is the vision. The immediate project for them is to bring the water from the particular well in Bethlehem and rejoice when their master enjoys drinking it. Their imagination must have run riot. They would have perceived in their mind how David would relish drinking that sweet water from the well from Bethlehem. With that mental vision projected by their imagination in their mind they pursued a risky adventure.
What is the compelling vision that drives a Christian? Where there is no vision, people perish. (Proverbs 29:18) Many Christians have sight, but have lost a vision. Hence, they are content with earthly mundane life.
- Desire of master becomes the mission, life purpose
The desire of their master superseded the desire of their own. Their ambitions, small desires, smart ambitions, petty hobbies were set aside, their life was governed by that vision of fulfilling the desire of their master. Vision governed life provides purpose in life and changes the lifestyle.
A young man who was engaged and was to be married in next six months changed his lifestyle. His friends wondered what happened to this man. The bridegroom said: “Now, I cannot just think about myself, my desires, my comfort. I have to think about my bride, our comfort, our desires, our future. Now, my future has changed my present.” How true it is. Our future alters our present. When our vision is clear, there are several adjustments we have to make to accomplish that vision.
- Desire of master becomes the passion, zeal
These soldiers did not just had good intentions to fulfill the desire of their master David. In fact, they gave mental consent also. However, they did not stop there. They had a passion that moved them to act, spontaneously. Vision without passion is day-dream. Passion without vision is dangerous. The zeal of the house of God consumed David. (Psalms 69:9) The passion cannot make a person passive, inactive but dynamic and aggressive. David had the zeal for the glory of God, so he could not be quiet when Goliath was defying the armies of Israel. Hence, he volunteered to fight Goliath and the rest is history.
- Strategic Planning
As soldiers, these three young men were professionals. They could not have just walked over to bring the water. It needed a thorough, systematic planning and execution. It was not as easy as going to a mall and bring some mineral water. It was a military expedition. First, they should know the number of security rings around Bethlehem. Second, they had to determine the resources they needed: arms, ammunition, equipment to collect water and carry water. Third, a job description for each of the team members. Four, the parameter and description of communication briefings among them. Five, a contingency plan in case of emergency or hindrances. Six, the time frame or time table for execution.
Such detailed plan is essential for effective execution. There is a popular saying: “One who fails to prepare; prepares to fail.” The heroes would have turned out like comedians or fools if they had planned well.
- Worked as team, fulfilled different roles
The three were not fighting contesting who would be the leader. There was not egos clashing or egos hurt. They understood, that they have to hold together to succeed. They are not there are competitors but as mission collaborators. Unless each person plays a specific role, they cannot achieve the goal.
Working together in Christian ministry seems difficult. There are huge wastage of God’s resources due to unwarranted competition and pride.
Each role is unique and God calls us for that role. It is not the assignment given by the church or leader, but call by God. If we understand this, there would be less frictions and divisions.
The three men could have intention, desire and even motivation. But, there is need for courage to go into the arena of action. For Christian ministry, the courage is the outcome of faith. People who do not have faith will be afraid to venture out and give excuses. “The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets!” (Proverbs 22:13) The lion or the danger is not in the street but in the mind of the lazy person. God cannot use lazy people to accomplish his mission and task.
10.Took risk together
As special task force, they took risk together. It was ‘do or die’ situation. Their life was at risk. They can either swim together or sink together. The risk was not simple but life-threatening. The risk of being attacked by Philistine army was imminent. Scaling the wall of Bethlehem or sneaking through the wall was another danger. Drawing water from the well also was risky if done after dark. Most probably, they had to do the operation during night time. They did not have night vision equipments. In fact, they did not have Google map or GPS to guide them.
The soldiers were committed to one another that they risked their lives for the sake of mission. C.T. Studd sang: “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.” How many things we do will stand eternally?
Perseverance is an important trait for leaders. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:13) Seeing challenges and obstruction the soldiers did not give up. They did not retreat looking at the mammoth task. The stamina was enough for them to accomplish this marvellous feat. There were enough reasons to leave the job half-done. How many jobs are partially done and not complete. Here is a classical example: While competing in the marathon in Mexico City, John Stepehen Akhwari cramped up due to the high altitude of the city. He had not trained at such an altitude back in his country. At the 19 kilometer point during the 42 km race, there was jockeying for position between some runners and he was hit. He fell badly wounding his knee and dislocated that joint plus his shoulder hit hard against the pavement. He however continued running, finishing last among the 57 competitors who completed the race (75 had started). The winner of the marathon, Mamo Wolde of Ethiopia, finished in 2:20:26. Akhwari finished in 3:25:27, when there were only a few thousand people left in the stadium, and the sun had set. A television crew was sent out from the medal ceremony when word was received that there was one more runner about to finish.As he finally crossed the finish line a cheer came from the small crowd. When interviewed later and asked why he continued running, he said, “My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race; they sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race. (courtesy wikepedia)
- Unity of purpose
The purpose and focus of the soldiers was clearly defined. All the three were committed to the purpose. Their unity came because of their unified purpose and vision. All Christians are called to build the Kingdom of God. Our purpose is the same, our priority is also the same. Hence unity is implicit as well as explicit in Christian experience. Even if there are personality dislikes and differences of opinion the purpose keeps us united.
The insights is for our reflection. We have to examine our life and see in what areas there are gaps that we have fill and aspects that we have to improve. Then take steps to grow in those specific areas to become people used by God.