The Bible interprets leadership as an act of serving and influencing others while having Christ’s interests at heart. Any person in Christ can turn to the Bible for excellent examples of leadership galore and learn from the greatest. Probably, one of the most influential leadership figures represented both in Christianity and Judaism is that of King David. In the Hebrew Bible, David is described as the third king of the united monarchy of Judah and Israel.
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David stands out among other leaders due to his ascent to power based on merit and Godly anointment, not his origin and background. In prophetic literature, David is honored as the perfect king; he is also considered to be the forefather of a future Messiah, Jesus Christ. This paper analyzes King David’s life and personality in-depth based on the books of Samuel, Chronicles, and Kings as well as defines David’s leadership model and makes a case for its relevance today.
David: Events and Historical Context
In an attempt to capture his fascinating path of glory filled with many meaningful events, David’s life is described in numerous books and psalms. However, this section focuses on three important fragments from the Scripture: 2 Samuel 21-23, 1 Chronicle 21-22, and 1 King 1:1-2:11. In the Second Book of Samuel, Chapter 21, David has been a king for quite a while. He is confronted with yet another trouble that he has to resolve single-handedly – a famine that has been bringing death and suffering to the people of Israel for three years. David begs God for an explanation so that he could rectify the situation.
As it turns out, the famine struck the kingdom because the previous ungodly king, Saul, murdered many Gibeonites, a neighboring nation that was not part of Israel. David turns his attention to the Gibeonites and allows them to decide exactly what amends he could make to make up for their loss. The nation does not want a material compensation, nor do they want to do harm to the Israelites: “We have no right to demand silver or gold from Saul or his family, nor do we have the right to put anyone in Israel to death (2 Samuel 21:4, New International Version).” Instead, the Gibeonites want to impale Saul’s seven sons, which they do with David’s help.
Despite their father’s evil deeds, king David still deems the sons worthy of a proper burial and finding peace. After the children’s remnants are buried, the famine comes to an end (Fokkelman, 2018). The second half of Chapter 21 describes David’s fight against the Philistines and their giants whom he successfully defeats.
Chapters 22 and 23 of the Second Book of Samuel consist entirely of a song in which David gets personal about his relationship with God. David acknowledges that it was the Higher Power that accompanied and aided him on his way to great accomplishments. Moreover, God saved David from his enemies and the evil King Saul on many occasions. Namely, the King uses the following metaphors to define exactly what role God played in his life: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; / my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, / my shield and the horn of my salvation (2 Samuel 22:3, New International Version).”
Further, David reminisces the mightiness of God by giving an example of a miracle that happened to another prominent Biblical figure, Moses: “The valleys of the sea were exposed / and the foundations of the earth laid bare / at the rebuke of the Lord, / at the blast of breath from his nostrils (2 Samuel 22:16, New International Version).” God never left David’s side through thick and thin: as the Kind admits in his song, he was often surrounded by death, but Lord could always hear his pleas for help and rescue him.
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A careful reader might ask as to how come David could always count on God’s mercy. It is a compelling question as seen from other passages, the King is far from flawless – after all, he is a human being. Chapter 23 of the Second Book of Samuels provides an exhaustive answer that one may derive from David’s song of praise. He says: “If my house were not right with God, / surely he would not have made with me an everlasting covenant, / arranged and secured in every part (2 Samuel 23:5, New International Version).”
This verse fragment is a great example of humility as David once again asserts his servitude and acknowledges God’s omnipresence and omnipotence. Again, it must be amazing to hear these words from a man who shared the following in the previous chapter: “People I did not know now serve me, / foreigners cower before me; / as soon as they hear of me, they obey me. / They all lose heart (2 Samuel 22:45-46, New International Version).” Putting these two fragments together, one may conclude that David does not let his ego inflate as he always honors God.
The Book of Chronicles, and namely, Chapters 21-22, offer the reader an interesting perspective on David’s personality. As it was mentioned earlier, David is not devoid of flaws and shortcomings, and like any other human, he makes mistakes. In Chapter 21, David is provoked to count the Israelites: “Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel (1 Chronicles 21:1, New International Version).”
Some sources, however, claim that God himself incited the King to follow through with the procedure. The Second Book of Samuel provides an account of the same events, though in a different light. There, the narrator interprets David’s motivation as follows: “And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, / Go, number Israel and Judah (2 Samuel 24:1, New International Version).”
When taken out of context, these two passages may seem to be contradicting each other. However, as stated by researchers such as Na’aman (2018), God allowed Satan to tempt King David, which means that in any case, it was God who motivated David to count the Israelites, directly or indirectly. In this case, it becomes obvious that God wanted to test David (Yandian, 1981).
For instance, the following passage from Romans gives a hint about the gullible human nature: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient (Romans 1:25-26, New International Version).” The human is not God’s slave as he or she has the freedom to disobey. Therefore, servitude and humility before the Highest are not something a person does out of obligation but out of genuine desire and free choice.
David gives in and starts the census, and God is enraged. Again, there is a logical explanation why something as innocuous as counting people may provoke such an outrage. God sees the people of Israel as one, and in taking a census, David divides his own nation, which is against the word of God (Steinvorth, 2016). The King repents his sins and receives a message in which the Lord tells him that he is free to choose any of the three punishments He has for him: three years of famine, three months of military attacks, or three days of God’s wrath. David attempts to choose the least of the three evils and decides that it would cause less damage to subject the nation to only three days of pestilence.
Soon, David sees thousands of people are falling victim to God’s plague. The king encounters the angel that the Lord sent to destroy Jerusalem. The angel bears the message of God in which He wants David to build an altar on the threshing floor. The King is desperate: he knows that he single-handedly caused the death and suffering of a vast number of people. As a good leader, he is now ready to do whatever it takes to save the nation, so he takes the angel’s message with utmost seriousness. He buys the land where the threshing floor is located and builds an altar and later a temple. God is pleased with David’s remorse and obedience, so He stops the destruction and commands the angel to abort his mission.
The first two chapters of the Book of Kings capture David’s last days on Earth. Again, the reader has a chance to observe the ruler in yet another situation where his morals are tested. David knows that he is about to die, and even in his last moments, he thinks about the nation that he governs. The King cares not only about what has been accomplished during his reign but also about what is going to happen to the kingdoms of Israel and Judah after his death.
While David is on his deathbed with a young woman that he married to make the experience easier, he learns that Adonijah is trying to take over the throne. He is about to prevent the legal heir, Solomon, from becoming the next king and he has already gained some support. David reassures Solomon’s mother that he will not let this happen: “As surely as the Lord lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble, / I will surely carry out this very day what I swore to you by the Lord, the God of Israel: Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my throne in my place (1 Kings 1:1-29, New International Version).” Again, David acknowledges how important God is to him when making a promise to this woman.
King David ends by delivering on what he vowed to do. Solomon is anointed to be the king in secret so that Adonijah cannot interfere with this decision. The latter accepts his defeat and begs forgiveness, which allows him to stay alive. Even though David is sure that Solomon is meant to be the new King, he still takes time to share his wisdom: “I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, act like a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go and that the Lord may keep his promise to me (1 Kings 2:2-4, New International Version).”
It is obvious that in his speech, David reiterates what he once expressed in his song to God after the fight with the Philistines. The old king sees it as important to teach the young king to rely on God and earn his mercy by being faithful. Apart from that, on his deathbed, David tells Solomon that he cannot be a good successor on his own. The entire nation should unite under God to make things happen: “If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel (1 Kings 2:4, New International Version).”
Throughout David’s speech, it becomes evident that he has nothing but respect for Solomon as he calls him “a man of wisdom (1 Kings 2:8, New International Version).” In summation, the first two chapters of the Book of Kings showcase another instance of excellent leadership from David as he peacefully transfers his power and ends 40 years of his glorious reign.
Leadership Model Utilized
There is no doubt that David is a prominent leadership figure; yet, so far it has been unclear exactly which type of leadership he displays. Below are the three integral types of Christian leadership and their comparison to David’s course of action and personal philosophy (Olson, 2014):
Dictatorial leadership is characterized by pride and greed for power. Among other prominent characteristics of a Christian dictator are arrogance, maliciousness, obstructionism, and callousness (Nass, 2015). At first, it may seem that the dictatorial leadership makes sense: an autocratic Christian leader takes control over a group of people and makes sure that the rules are followed to the T. However, when a person gains too much power and leverage, they might as well start abusing it. Moreover, someone in a position of power may stray away from the word of God and proclaim themselves superior.
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In the New Testament, Peter and the apostles put forward the following idea: “We must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29, New International Version).” What they mean to say is that no man can be higher than God, no matter how much influence he gains over others. Christian faith and servitude should make an autocratic leader question him- or herself and check whether their course of action has Christ’s interest at its center. Besides, it is readily imaginable how a dictatorial leader may neglect those who are around him or her because of their ego. The New Testament’s Timothy provides his perspective on the issue: “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8).”
What is more, those who do not live in Christ will not find peace, sooner or later they will have to face the repercussions of their ungodly deeds. This is what the New Testament has to say about the most possible outcome: “But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer (Romans 13:4, New International Version).”
As seen from the passages provided in this section, dictatorial leadership contradicts Christian teaching. The question arises as to whether David has ever been an autocratic leader or possessed any of the described traits. Given the previous analysis of the selected passages from the Books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, it becomes obvious that David always honored God before himself. As much as he was aware that he was a great ruler, he attributed his deeds to God and his mercy.
Initially, the very reason why David has risen to power was that he was a good Christian. The Book of Acts explains that the man was a shepherd and a musician, which would never make him a candidate for the throne. However, ” […] when God had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will (Acts 13:22, New International Version).”
When analyzing the topic of dictatorship in the Bible, it is compelling to contrast two prominent figures that grew to be antagonists – David and Saul. Saul was a legitimate King; however, he was not faithful to the Lord and proved to be a cruel ruler. As told in the Book of Samuel, Saul brought much suffering to the Gibeonistas, whom David had to avenge later. In the First Book of Samuel, Samuel calls Saul out on his ungodly deeds and prophetizes his downfall: “Samuel said to Saul, “You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, for now, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.
But now your kingdom shall not endure The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you (1 Samuel 13:13-14, New International Version).” This and God’s presence in David’s life were what made King Saul uneasy: “Saul was afraid of David because the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul (1 Samuel 18:12, New International Version).” As the later events have shown, Saul indeed fell victim to his greed and negligence of God, and King David inherited the two kingdoms due to his diligence and humility.
A preferential leadership emerges from popular choice. A good example from the Bible would be the conflict between Paul and the Corinthians. The city of Corinth, Greece, was not entirely converted to Christianity back then. Before his journey to Corinth, Paul stayed in Athens for some time – a city known for its philosophical and intellectual tradition. There, the Apostle could rely on the logical means of persuasion in talking to people.
In the Second Book of Corinthians, Paul describes the way of steering people to follow the righteous path as follows: “The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 2:4-5, New International Version).” As seen from this passage, it is clear that Paul rejected the idea of imposing Christian norms with violence.
Arriving in Corinth, Paul was clear about his intentions: “Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:17-18, New International Version).” However, the sentiment of the new location made him face a different kind of challenge.
That city was known for its commercial ties, which resulted in immense wealth and prosperity. The people of Corinth often indulged in earthly delights; they appraised merriness and sensuality. Paul knew that he would not gain Corinthians’ attention and would not move them by telling them about Jesus’ death on the cross and his ultimate sacrifice. Instead, the Apostle chose a topic that sat well with the residents of the city and that was relatable – love.
Thus, in one of his most famous speeches, he preached: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth (1 Corinthians 13, New International Version).” Therefore, Paul became a preferential leader by knowing exactly what would make people accept Christ as their Lord and Savior. It is still up to debate whether the leadership displayed was more secular or religious (Akerland, 2014). Nevertheless, it is clear that Paul gives the reader an excellent example of a mentor and a leader.
So far, it seems that preferential leadership is more aligned with Christ’s interests than dictatorial leadership. After all, as seen from the example of Paul and the Corinthians, a preferential leader seeks to understand those whom he tries to turn into his followers. The Apostle showed humility and respect for the philosophy of the city of Corinth and made his best to communicate the teachings of Christ in a way that would be understandable. Yet, there are certain pitfalls that a Christian leader should be aware of when it comes to preferential leadership.
The Bible warns the reader about the threats of enjoying popularity in excess. Akin to the situation with autocratic leadership, a preferential leader might end up being too immersed in the problems of those whom he or she governs and forget about their servitude: “For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? (Luke 9:25, New International Version).” Aside from that, once ascended to power, a preferential leader might grow scared of losing his or her influence. This fear is likely to push a person to please others and seek their approval (Mhatre & Riggio, 2014).
Again, the New Testament shows how a situation like the one described should be handled: “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ (Galatians 1:10, New International Version).” Therefore, preferential leadership can only be in line with Christ’s interests if a person manages to consider both what his or her faith prescribes them to do and what would be the best for their followers.
The question arises as to whether David’s leadership model could be categorized as preferential. From the Book of Chronicles, it becomes obvious that David was well-liked by the people of Israel and Judah. At the beginning of the Second Book of Samuel, the newly anointed King gains people’s approval by upholding his morals. He learns about Abner, one of Saul’s close servants, and his treacherous ways, which includes murder. David knows that Abner needs to be punished but he lets God take revenge on the ungodly man. The events unfold in an unexpected way, and the teacher ends up being stabbed by Joab. At Abner’s funeral, David unveils that he had nothing to do with the killing.
Moreover, he mourns with sincerity and gives a speech about the deceased. To show his grief, the King rejects the bread that his people implore him to it. Apparently, this kind of behavior is considered to be noble: “And all the people took notice of it, and it pleased them, as everything that the king did pleased all the people. 37 So all the people and all Israel understood that day that it had not been the king’s will to put to death Abner the son of Ner (2 Samuel 3:36-37, New International Version)”.
Moreover, his soldiers appreciated him so much that at one point, they did not want him to join them in the battle because his life was far more precious than theirs. During the war on Philistines, David’s men tell him: “Never again will you go out with us to battle, so that the lamp of Israel will not be extinguished (2 Chronicles 1:15, New International Version).”
Another example of David’s preferential leadership is his decision to avenge the Gibeonites. The vengeance itself was what God commanded the King to do; the method of executing it was chosen by the neighboring nation itself. One more interesting detail is that David sends all of Saul’s sons to the Gibeonites to be massacred, but he spares one of them, Jonathan, because of the promise he made to God. Namely, “The king spared Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, because of the oath before the Lord between David and Jonathan the son of Saul.
8 But the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Aiah’s daughter Rizpah, whom she had borne to Saul, together with the five sons of Saul’s daughter Merab, whom she had borne to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite (2 Chronicles 1:7-8, New International Version).” This passage shows that as a popular leader, David sought to appease both the Lord and the people, which he did successfully.
The third and final type of leadership described at length in the Bible is spiritual. This type of leadership is seen as perfect as it is devoid of any personal motives. A spiritual leader is the one who is after Christ’s heart and keeps him at the center of any leadership strategy that he or she might want to realize (Laniak, 2015). In some way, a true Christian leader may be seen as the one who seeks to be the mediator between a person and the Lord. This leader does not dare to think that he or she is better than those who follow them merely because of their formally higher status. Instead, they see leadership as part of their Christian servitude and know that even if no one on Earth holds them responsible, there is always the omnipresent God that will ensure accountability.
Again, some of the best examples of leadership come from the New Testament, this time Philippians. At the beginning of the book, Paul sends a letter to another servant of God, Timothy, to share his perspective on spreading Christ’s message and leading the church parish. Paul is exhaustively clear about what kind of motivation a spiritual leader needs to have: “15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel (Philipians 1:15-16, New International Version).” “Envy and rivalry” are exactly what may be fuelling the dictatorial and preferential types of leadership but what should be absent from the spiritual leadership,
It seems that David’s model of leadership is aligned with that described above. His humility and acknowledgment of God’s work set an excellent example for his people. There is an interesting parallel between the Old Testament’s David and the New Testament’s Paul, who seemingly share the same perspective on leadership. At the end of his letter, Paul tells the parish what they should do when he is gone: “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit,[e] striving together as one for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you (1 Philippians 1:27, New International Version).”
Similarly, when on the deathbed, King David ensures that his legacy lives on and that his descendants are as faithful as him. As it was mentioned before, the old king has a conversation with young Solomon to make sure that he is aware of his responsibilities before God. To conclude this section on David’s model of leadership, one may provide one more quote from the New Testament that fits the King’s storyline perfectly: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7, New International Version).”
Modern Leadership Challenges and the Practical Relevance of David’s Legacy to Leadership
Now that David’s leadership model is well-defined, the question arises as to what use it could find today and how relevant it is for modern Christian leaders. It is clear that the problem of leadership permeates time, place, societies, and political regimes. Yet, every era has its own unique set of challenges that need to be addressed. For this section, a study by the Biblical Leadership portal (2018) is analyzed. The main objective of the study in question was to define the common barriers to Christian leadership and suggest workable solutions. Interestingly enough, the participants of the study were not only church-affiliated.
It is true that each and every one of them was a devout Christian, but the sample was diversified to include individuals serving in the military as well as working in education, NGOs, sales, and other fields. The fact that Christians are willing to follow and teach God’s ancient wisdom outside the church is a positive one. According to the statistics provided by Biblical Leadership (2018), around 80% of participants are confident about the Bible’s potential to improve their leadership qualities and behaviors. Yet, it is readily imaginable how straining it might be for them to develop a strategy that would make sense by both secular and religious standards. After interviewing both experienced and up-and-coming leaders, Harper and Sanders, the top experts at Biblical Leadership, compiled a list of the most frequent challenges.
Leadership Development and Discipleship
As stated by the study participants, the biggest barrier they faced was developing leadership qualities in themselves and seeking out talent that would be leader material. As Stott (2016) argues in his book on Christian leadership, building people is not an exercise in worldly wisdom. Instead, any good leadership development strategy should be backed up by the Word of God. The question arises as to what strategies the Bible has to offer to seek new talent and develop the existing cadres. Analyzing the participants’ input, Biblical leadership (2018) came up with three solutions:
Allowing individuals to grow individually to later unite them in one team. It is true that a nurturing environment can be a deciding factor in a person’s growth. However, even before joining a team, he or she needs to be ready to commit and face the various challenges that every Christian experiences (Blackaby & Blackaby, 2011). Besides, it is extremely valuable to be able to work both in collaboration and independently. Therefore, before pursuing the leadership path, a person should have meaningful experiences that would fuel his or her growth.
Revisiting David’s story, it becomes obvious that the event that contributed the most to his development as a person and as a leader is his confrontation and battle with Goliath the giant. The old king, Saul, refused to face Goliath out of fear, even though he was aware that it was the only way for him and the Israelites to win the war. The giant challenges David: “Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us (1 Samuel 17:10, New International Version).”
Searching for a humble person who is ready to step up. This search strategy implies that a leader is not born but found and grown. As God sees potential in every human being as every human being is of his original design, a good leader should also make the best out of every team member even if their talents are not obvious. For instance, the following passage captures the Bible’s stance on a single person’s potential pretty well: “or we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10, New International Version).” Thus, it makes sense not to look for an accomplished outsider but to promote a person within the community, helping him or she realize their wonderful gifts.
Besides, this strategy emphasizes humility, which is According to Sousa and van Dierendonck (2017), one of the main prerequisites of developing servant leadership. McElroy et al. (2014) also elaborate on the importance of intellectual humility when leading other people. Turning to David’s story, it becomes obvious that he was of humble beginnings himself and that he was integral to the community where he grew up. The future king was God-chosen and anointed despite not having any formal rights to be the next heir. Yet, when given a chance, David proved to be a wise and godly ruler that led Israel and Judah to prosperity.
Letting leaders suffer. According to both religious teachings and secular psychological theories, personal growth is only possible when a person goes through crises and learns valuable lessons (Puls, Ludden, & Freemyer, 2014). For instance, such experts as Meyers, van Woerkom, de Reuver, Bakk, and Oberski (2015) emphasize the importance of challenging events in building emotional resilience and self-confidence. Cherry (2018) describes Erikson’s stages of development and argues that transitioning from one stage to the next is only possible if a person resolves a conflict typical for each stage.
Now, if one turns to the Bible, it becomes obvious that in the context of Christianity, these crises may be interpreted as God’s tests: “They must also be tested first; if they prove blameless, then they can serve as deacons (1 Timothy 3:10, New International Version).” David’s life story only confirms this point: as it was mentioned earlier, as a leader, he was tempted to give in to Satan and follow his commandments. The king made a mistake by embarking on an ungodly deed, but he rectified the situation and learned his lesson.
Practicing Servant Leadership
Evidently, servitude is the central concept of Christian leadership (Howell, 2003). However, as the study participants report, becoming a servant in everyday life is quite a challenging task. As it was mentioned earlier, a leader that is preferential or dictatorial (as opposed to spiritual) may be tempted to succumb to the power of his or her ego. According to secular psychologists such as Schilling and Schyns (2015), some of the negative leadership traits include petty tyranny and abusive supervision, which typically stems from pride. The Holy Scripture discusses the issue of pride at length: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble (James 4:6, New International Version).”
Jesus Christ himself emphasized how essential servitude is: “For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves” (Luke 22:27, New International Version).” Again, David provides the reader with an excellent example of servant leadership. As seen from the Second Book of Samuel, the king lets go of his ego and praise God for his gifts.
Criticism and Perfectionism
Lastly, one more barrier that the Biblical Leadership study participants helped to expose is the inadequate reaction to flaws and mistakes. Macedo et al. (2015) explain that repetitive negative thinking in perfectionists leads to psychological distress. Perfectionism, i.e. a personal tendency to make things the best way possible, can yield positive results (Dixon et al., 2014). However, a perfectionist leader is often self-critical and may ruminate past negative experiences instead of improving the situation at hand. Krueger and Chen (2014) also highlight the likelihood of an anxious person to project their self-beratement and criticism onto others, which may lead to group disjointed and dissatisfaction.
The Bible appraises a person’s internal drive to improve, but at the same time, the Christian faith acknowledges that every human being will inevitably make mistakes. A Christian leader should turn to the Holy Scripture for support in moments of doubt. For instance, Peter says the Lord’s mercy is so great, any person can count on his forgiveness: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Peter 2:38, New International Version).” In this context, David’s example is extremely relevant for a modern Christian leader as the king was far from flawless. He failed God’s tests on a few occasions but was able to recover from his mistakes without dwelling on the past.
Christian faith is meant to incite a leader to keep the right balance between executing his or her earthly power and remaining God’s diligent and humble servant. One of the greatest examples of Biblical leadership is that of King David. The most thought-provoking Biblical subjects include David’s vengeance in the Book of Samuel, his misdeed in taking a census in the Book of Chronicles, and his message to Solomon in the Book of Acts. The analysis of these passages allows one to conclude that David’s model of leadership is spiritual since as opposed to the dictatorial and preferential models, the king is not motivated by envy and greed.
David’s legacy can and should be put to good use when fostering new Christian leaders. First, the example of David growing into a wise ruler without a typical noble background showcases how much potential a human can have. Second, David’s servitude may compel a leader to let go of his or her ego and focus on serving the people and Jesus Christ. Lastly, David’s character is multidimensional as he has both positive and negative personality traits. The stories where the King makes mistakes and makes amends may teach a leader to be more accepting of his or her flaws.
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