There was a popular animation video series called “The Lion King,” which was the delight of many children and adults. On several occasions, I watched them with my children. For me, there are lots of life lessons to learn from it in relation to leadership!
Simba, the lion’s cub, unaware of the stages and challenges that his father, the king, was going through, was so delighted when he was told that he would be the heir to the throne, after the demise of his father, to the domain of his forefathers.
His young mind, only captured the affluent, command, and grandeur attached to kingship / leadership. He began to sing to his friend, “I just can’t wait to be king.” If you have watched this movie, you will note it takes more than just arrogant singing to ascend the throne of leadership. The future doesn’t just yield to anyone!
He went through many experiences that almost claimed his life; his father was murdered by his uncle. Simba was sent on exile never to return, along with many other circumstances, which he never conceived at the announcement of him as the heir apparent.
What does it take to be king? What does it take to be the master or a great leader in an area of specialization?
Paul said, “Here is a trustworthy saying: whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task” (1 Timothy 3:1-7). Then he listed the requirements for a true leader of the people of God.
At Lead like Jesus, we see this as a process that begins with a willingness to learn as a novice, an apprentice, a journeyman before eventually being commissioned as a master.
A novice must be ready to listen to basic instructions from the Mentor/Master/Trainer as he invests in training. He begins to grow as an apprentice as he practices those instructions. Evaluations lead to improvement as well. When the master is satisfied, the learner becomes a journeyman who needs more practice and commitment to the work as he is being mentored, until he begins to teach others, then he is commissioned as a master.
To be a commercial airplane pilot, takes several years; it varies by different fields of work.
Moses received training at the palace for forty years, yet he was taken to the wilderness for another forty years to complete the training to be fit to deliver God’s people from Egypt.
Joseph had a dream that he would lead his father’s house in the future, yet the road to the fulfillment of the dream was littered with several roadblocks. He testified, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20).
David was a shepherd boy chosen and anointed by God’s instruction to rule as the next king in Israel, but he had to go through a series of training for more than a decade before ascending to the throne at thirty.
“Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer” (2 Timothy 2:3-4).
All these heroes of faith had to be prepared by what they went through to emerge as celebrated leaders of legacy.
If a position is conferred on you, your integrity must be built over the years to perform and succeed. This is accomplished by following Instructions, practicing skills, doing assignments and receiving encouragements.
Jesus led His disciples in the same way – Novice, Apprenticeship, Journeyman and Master.
As a Novice:
He called them and said “… Come, follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people” (Matthew 4:18-22). He instructed them. “Do not go among the Gentiles, or enter any town of the Samaritans. But go rather…” (Matthew 10:5-10).
As an Apprentice:
They were developed. “I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him. You unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I stay with you? … if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain…” (Matthew 17:15-20).
The disciples in this passage failed in their duty but Jesus as the master developer evaluated, instructed and reassured them in their journey to becoming masters in the ministry.
As a Journeyman:
Jesus answered him, “… Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you shall follow me afterward… I will lay down my life for your sake” 2 Samuel 5:4.
“… Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” (John 21:15-19).
As a journeyman, they are able to work on their own, yet overconfidence may set in as the case of Peter in these passages show. But when he failed, the Master encouraged him.
As a Master/Teacher:
“Therefore, let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah” (Acts 2:36-38).
“…Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations…” (Matthew 28:18-20).
The Master being satisfied with the development of His disciples commissioned them to represent Him all over the nations.
“No pain, no gain,” they say. Whatever you aim to achieve tomorrow you need to pay the price today. You must be thoroughly trained in the process so you could emerge a leader/champion/king fully trained and developed to faithfully serve.
Your world is waiting!
Many leaders today are eloquent in speech with lots of campaign promises. The question is, can they deliver to the people? Have they grown and developed through the ranks? As novice to apprentice and journeyman, are they masters in managing people and the issues of life?
Jesus said, “… and I will send you out to fish for people” (Matthew 4:19). That was what He achieved in the three and a half years they spent with Him. When He ascended to heaven, He left behind men that didn’t budge or fret at the threats of their rulers but boldly with God-grounded confidence challenged the status quo and rewrote history.
You can’t rush into leadership. The process grows you, so that with the capacity you build, you may stand the test of time. It took time for young Simba to be strong enough to restore his father’s throne that was occupied by his treacherous uncle. Simba succeeded!
A true leader must be ready to influence the thinking, behavior and development of people, communities and nations for good. In what ways do you make this work within your spheres of influence? Are there steps of humility you must learn from Jesus our Model?
Keep this in mind, a true king is a servant leader!