Leadership and Self-awareness

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: 1 Samuel 18:5-19:24; Proverbs 17:2-3

READ (Verses chosen for meditation)
1 Samuel 18:8 “And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?”

Saul was angry that David was more successful than him. Saul was angry that the people recognized this truth. Saul was jealous that the people had switched their hearts towards David. What more can Saul expect? Through the prophet Samuel, God already told Saul that He will not be with him, because he had taken things into his own hands (ref: 1 Samuel 15-16). Due to Saul’s growing pride and insecurities, the king could not see his own faults, did not seek repentance but blamed young David for the frustrations he was facing. Such was how a humble person of the Lord (1 Samuel 10) who held his peace when some persons despised him; grew to be an egoistic, angry and abusive king who blamed others for his own sins.

Today’s text on the life of Saul reminded me that the most challenging part about leadership is not about the work given to us by the Lord; it is not even the persons who come our way. What could be most challenging is having a lucid awareness of ourselves. Leadership tends to cloud such an awareness because the exercising of authority could easily tempt people to think that we are better than who we really are. Leadership can also invite not so open feedback from others because some might not want to “offend” the leaders; or had wanted to give much benefit of the doubt to those appointed to leadership. Yet, Saul was not without open counsel. He had Samuel with him. However, Saul’s pride was bigger than any good advice and rebuke.

May the Lord help us leaders, whether in church or marketplace to always serve in humility and having a lucid awareness of our own spiritual walk with God. For those of us who might not be in leadership positions or are working with leaders, we can pray to be more like the “Samuels” to the leaders around us. Let us be courageous and discerning to speak the truth in love; so that by doing so, we might even be used by God to save the souls of some leaders.

Lord, help us to learn from the example of Saul. Help us to appreciate persons who come alongside us to be our “Samuels” and help us to be open to feedback so that we can change for the sake of God’s glory. Amen.