Principles of Leadership

by: Ronald L. Dart

Who would you say in the Bible is the greatest example of leadershipóapart from Jesus, of course? Now, without a doubt, you may come up with Moses, for example, or some other individual, but there is no contestóthe man is David. When it comes to David, we donít need modifiers. You donít have to call him King David, you donít have to call him David, the son of Jesse. If you said David, any Bible reader knows precisely who you are talking about. One of the reasons is because his name occurs over one thousand times in the Bible and, as far as Iíve been able to determine, no one else in the Bible was ever named David. And that, by itself, is truly remarkable. Youíd think someone, somewhere would have named a boy David, after David, because David was such a powerful figure in Israelís history.

Well, names in Hebrew mean something and until I began to prepare for this sermon, I never had looked up to see what the meaning was of Davidís name. Iíll come back to that. Also, I had not thought much about the characteristics of this man that made him such an incredible leader. He was easily the most influential and the most dominant figure in the Old Testament and my question was, how early in his life did the stuff of leadership begin to show up in his life and in this man and what were the things that we can look at in his life that will help us to understand: what are the characteristics - the things that make up a great leader?

He was not a big man. He was the youngest of eight sons, not the oldest. He was also one of those rarities in lifeóhe was a man who people will tend to call "beautiful," without meaning anything feminine about it. He was a beautiful manófair-haired, good to look at and, frankly, a very remarkable person in so many ways.

Now, his brothers looked at him in a little different point of view, as brothers will. His brotheróI guess his oldest brotheróthought he was arrogant, thought he was "too big for his britches." Now the story of how this begins to develop is very, very familiar to all of us. You can almost recite for me probably, if youíre a regular Bible reader and youíve been to church very much, because the story is told so often from sermons and sermonettes or Bible studiesóitís such an incredible example.

Well, we all know that there came a day when Israel was arrayed in battle against the Philistines. All of Davidís brothers, all of Jesseís sons, except him, were in the army and were up there ready to fight with the Philistines. Now, in those days, the provisions, letís say, that were made for an army were nothing like they are today. You kind of had to carry your own food. You had to provide your own uniforms and, chances are, you had to get your own weapons, too. Itís just not like it is now, in fact, you donít have to go all that far back in history to find circumstances where the Captain of an English man-of-war had to provide uniforms for all the men on his ships. It wasnít the government at Whitehall that did it, he had to do it out of his own, personal fortune.

So, on this particular occasion, Jesse sends David, his youngest son, with foodóbreadóto carry up to his brothers, who are on the front line of the battle. And so, in I Samuel 17, the story begins:

I Samuel 17:20: Early in the morning, David left the flock with a shepherd, loaded up and set out as Jesse had directed. Now he reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle position shouting the war cry. {21} Israel and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other.

Now, another peculiar thing about war in that day and age and one that held, really, among Arab peoples for a long, long time, down into this millennium, I think, certainly, into the last millennium, would be that the armies would get themselves up in array and would engage in displays. They would ride their horses, perhaps, back and forth, waving their scimitar in the air. The armies would line up opposite one another and rattle their swords and shields, and shout and so forthóall this intimidation going on against the other side. It was also not uncommon in those days for two champions to fight the battle. I remember this line from Patton, who looked back on that age of jousting with great memories and thinking to himself how good it would be if he could button himself up, first of all meet Rommel on the field of battle, shake hands with him, each of them get in his tank, button up and do battleóone man against one man and the outcome would decide the war. Kind of a bloody, binding arbitration. It worked in some cases in ancient times, at least for a while. Well, that was what was going on hereóall kinds of brandishing of weapons, shouting back and forth across the lines, building up the courage of the two armies.

David, when he heard all this going on, left his things with the keeper of supplies and ran to the battle lines and greeted his brothers. Now, as he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine, the champion from Gath, stepped out of the lines and shouted his usual defiance and David heard it. Now, as I said, this is typical of some of these old, warring traditionsóletís let two champions fight and determine the outcome of this; who gets this piece of land, who gets this border moved, whatever itís going to be, let the champions fight and whoever dies, the winner gets to decide. Bloody, but, I gather, it must have worked in ancient times.

I Samuel 17:24 Now, when the Israelites saw the man, they all ran from him in great fear.

Not just because this man was a great fighter, he was huge. He was a giant of a man. His shield and his sword and his spear were hugeóit would take a man his size to even be able to use them in combat.

I Samuel 17:25 And the Israelites were saying, You see how this man just keeps coming out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his fatherís family from taxes in Israel. Now I might do a few things, you know, short of risking my life to get rid of the IRS for the rest of my life. Anyway, David heard all this and he says:

I Samuel 17:26 What? What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the Living God?

For David the equation was really simple. This man was defying not just Israel, not just Saul, he was defying not just the armies of anybody but of the Living God. And, for David, that clarified the issue enormously. He was an uncomplicated manóvery definitely an uncomplicated manóhe was able to see the issue clearly. He was able to brush off all the extraneous stuff and go straight to the heart of a matter.

Now, in my experience, complicated men do not make great leaders. Shall I say it again? In my experience, complicated men do not make great leaders. When we were taking a course in real estate, oh, many long years ago, Allie and I were listening to this fellow and he made this statement about real estate and about making money in real estate. He said, "If you want to make money in real estate, stick your finger in a light socket and take twenty points off your IQ." His point was that, highly intelligent people donít make money in real estate. You donít have to be smart. The problem is, he says, is that intelligent people are afflicted with what he called "the paralysis of analysis". Theyíll be sitting there analyzing every angle, from making up charts, adding up figures, working out all the details, whereas the simple-minded guyóthe guy whoís not so particularly intelligent about all these things and wouldnít have any idea how to load up a spread sheet, just goes out and buys the property and makes money. You know, he learns from his experiences and goes on down the road.

Now, I donít mean to suggest from this that David was simple minded, rather, that he was single minded. And thereís a huge difference between the two. He immediately saw that what was at issue was simple. Someone has to fight this man and win. Analyzing him wasnít going to make it any easier or any better. It was not going to change the outcome. Somebody just had to go out there and fight and win and the quicker, the better. It calls to mind what James made in his statement. He said:

James 1:8 A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.

And what heís talking about here is the difference between the single-minded man and the complicated, or double-minded man, who canít make up his mind about stuff. He is unstable in all of his ways. It isnít necessarily even talking about being two-faced. Itís talking about the ability to see something and decide and act.

The double-minded man is likely to consider the single-minded man as reckless, stubborn, arrogant, rashótake your pick. But the double-minded man will look with contempt upon the single-minded man and think this poor fool just doesnít understand what it is heís getting on to. The double-minded man doesnít want to rush into anything; he wants to analyze the problem, think it through, get advice, get help in solving the problem and marshal that around and then maybe, someday, make up his mind to actually go out and do something. Now itís been a long 70 years that Iíve been through in my lifetime learning some of these lessons rather bitterly and I can remember many, many times when I would have just been a whole lot better off, if Iíd have just done it, instead of sitting around trying to figure the angles on things.

A Leader is Single Minded

So Iíve derived from David a principal of leadership; a leader is single minded. How early in Davidís life did this appear? Well, it was there when we first hear of him. It was there when we first hear of the man. It wasnít something that showed up after many, many years of experience. In verse 27,

I Samuel 17:27 They repeated to him what they had been saying and they told him, "This is what will be done for the man that kills him." {28} Now Eliab, Davidís oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, and he got hot under the collar and said, "Why have you come down here? And with who did you leave that handful of sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is. You came down here to watch the battle."

Eliab saw David as arrogant and conceited and people who know their own mind are often seen that way. Think about that. People who know their own mind, know who they are, know what they stand for, know what theyíre going to do and what theyíre not going to do, are often seen as conceited and arrogant.

I Samuel 17:29 David said, "Now what have I done? Canít I even speak."

Typical brothers. I mean just typical brothers, one of them gets on the other oneís case and the other one says "what have I done this time? Get off my back!"

I Samuel 17:30 Then he turned away to someone else and he brought up the same matter and the man answered him just like before. {31} Now what David said was overheard and reported to Saul and Saul sent for him. {32} And David when he got there, he says, "Donít let anyone lose heart because of this Philistine, your servant will go out and fight him."

Iíll do itódonít let anybody worry about this guy. I will fight him. Cocky, isnít he? Oh, certainly his brothers thought he was cocky.

I Samuel 17:32 Saul replied, "You canít go out and fight this Philistine, youíre a boy. Heís been a fighting man since he was a boy!" {33}. But David said to Saul, "No, I was keeping my fatherís sheep when a lion and bear came out and carried off a sheep from the flock. I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it! Your servant killed both the lion and the bear and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them because he has defied the armies of the living God."

Not because Iím a better fighter, not for any particular reason, but Iím not afraidÖ Here is a young man who had foughtóengaged in hand-to-hand combatóand had killed with his own hands, both a lion and a bear. And you know, if youíve ever wrestled with your dog you understand how strong animals can be. A big dog can be very, very strong and a bear is beyond the capabilities of most men. But, of course, he had a knife and he killed this bear and he killed the lion and he was not afraid. Now, he may have been cocky, I will grant that, but he also had guts. He had guts to go with it and so he was ready. For David, the equation was simple: when you are faced with danger, you face up to it and you fight. Thatís what single-minded people do. And, you do it sooner, rather than later. Do it now.

To quote Patton, who was quoting somebody else (I donít know who), he said, "Líaudacieux, toujours líaudacieux!", which, in French, means "Always be audacious!" And the definition of audacity is, "intrepidly daring, adventurous, recklessly bold." Be bold. Be reckless. Your enemy will never figure you for it, especially if he is a Ďcomplicatedí man.

So there is some justification in accusing a bold leader of being reckless. Sort of like the Normandy Invasion, that began the end of World War II. It was an audacious scheme. It was reckless and the Germans, because they thought it was reckless, did not defend against that particular scenario. Eisenhower was a great leader.


A Leader is Audacious

My second characteristic of leadership, according to David, is courage; but more than courage, itís audacity. I would call that active courage, because there is such a thing as passive courage. There is the characteristic in a person to bear up under great pain, to be courageous in facing challengesónot so much by what he does, but by not runningóthatís passive courage. David had active courageóaudacity. But there was something else driving David here besides just his own personal characteristics. He said in verse 37:

I Samuel 17:37 The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from this Philistine.

A Leader must have Simple Faith

So, you gotta crank into this equation one more thing, simple faith. Faith is, in the end, a very simple proposition. You either have it or you donít. You either trust God or you donít. This is not something you can analyze, itís not weighed in the balances, itís not analyzed and dissected and put under a microscope. You canít do that with it. You either trust God, or you donít. And it has nothing to do with your fears, because courage doesnít mean anything unless a person knows what fear is. And so it is with this particular question of faith. You donít need faith if you have no fear. Faith is necessary to make a decision to trust God when you are afraid. It involves trust, also, regardless of the outcome.

Now this is an interesting thought all by itself. Job, when he was way down the line in his trial, made this statement:

Job 13:15 Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.

Now all of his friends had been through this thing, his wife had told him "curse God and die," he had struggled with the whole thing and had no idea what God was trying to do with him, but he said, I donít care, if He kills me, I will trust Him, all the way to death.

And then thereís another interesting example; it is so fascinating when you read it, because you often hear people talk about faith in terms of outcomes. But there was this occasion where the Hebrew children, who were in captivity in Babylon, were told that they would either bow down to this idol that they created over here or they would be thrown into a fiery furnace over there and burned to death. And, of course, when people threw them in there, the fires were so hot, they killed the soldiers who were throwing them in there! And they made the statement to the king, they said,

Daniel 3:17 We are not going to bow down to your idol, because God will deliver us from you.

But then they went on and said something truly astonishing. They said:

Daniel 3:18 Even if He doesnít, be it known to the king weíre not bowing down to this idol.

They made the decision to trust God, regardless of the outcome and, as I said, that is a simple proposition. Either you decide to trust Him or you donít. There isnít really any in-between ground on this.

So, we managed to drag three important characteristics of leadership from Davidís very early example. They are already there when we meet the man: he is single minded, he is audacious, he is also a man of faith, who is willing to trust God. So, Saul said to David:

I Samuel 17:37 ÖGo and the Lord be with you. {38} Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic, he put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head and David fastened the sword over the tunic and tried walking around in them (he wasnít used to them). He said, I canít go in these; Iím not used to them. And he took them off.

A Leader is Realistic

Now, what do you take from this? I take from it that a leader is realistic. He says, Ďthere is no point in me going out there dressed in these things. Iíll die if I do. I donít need them, I will go without them.í He knows his limitations, he engages in no pretense. A man of ego would have worn the armor and died, as simple as that.

I Samuel 17:38 So David took his staff in his hand and he chose five smooth stones from the stream and put them in the pouch of his shepherdís bag, with his sling in his hand he approached the Philistines.

A Leader is Prepared

Why five stones? You probably have heard sermons before asking the same question. Why five? Why not one? If heís just got all this faith, he knows what heís going to do and so forth, hey, he realized he might miss with the first one. He was good. He didnít think he was perfect. In a sense, taking five means he did have some measure of realism, some measure of humility thatís involved in it but, I take from this that a leader is prepared. He is prepared with the weapons he has, not with somebody elseís weapons. David was good with a sling. He probably wasnít worth a flip with a sword and, since that was the case, he went with his weapon. He went prepared; he had his ammunition as well. He didnít go out there with one stone thinking with arrogance, ĎIíll do it with one.í And he came to fight.

I Samuel 17:41 Meanwhile, the Philistine with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. {42} He looked David over and he saw he was only a boy. He was ruddy and handsome and he despised him. {43} He said to David, "Am I a dog that you come out here with a stick?" And he cursed David by his gods {44} and said, "Come here and Iíll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!" {45} David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with a sword and a spear and a javelin. I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied."

A Leader Comes with Authority

A leader also comes with authority. He had faith, he trusted God and he walked out there with Godís authority, which causes some people to call him arrogant. You know, itís just the way it is. You speak with authority, people are going to think youíre arrogant. Theyíre going to think youíre conceited. Theyíre going to think youíre full of yourself, theyíre going to think all kinds of things about you. The important thing, though, is, that you know who you are.

A Leader Assumes Victory

And, also, thereís another thing from thisóa leader assumes victory. He doesnít go out there expecting to lose. He goes out there expecting to win; not timid, not hedging his bets, not saying well if this doesnít work Iíll try that, he goes to win.

I Samuel 17:46 This day, he said, the Lord will hand you over to me and Iíll strike you down and cut off your head. Today, I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air, the beasts of the earth and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. {47} All those gathered here will know that itís not by sword or spear that the Lord saves, for the battle is the Lordís and He will give all of you into our hands.

Confidence, man. Assumption of victoryóIím gonna win this thing.

A Leader Acts Quickly and Decisively

I Samuel 17:48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle to meet him.

There was no hesitation. Not a moment. As far as we know he didnít even stop to pray. All he said was, Iím here in the name of the Lord God of Israel, youíve defied Him, youíve defied His armies, youíve insulted God. He acted immediately,

I Samuel 17:49 reaching into his bag, taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, he fell face down on the ground. {50} So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, without a sword in his hand.

He struck down the Philistine and killed him!

I Samuel 17:51 And David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistineís sword, drew it from the scabbard. After he had killed him, he cut off his head with the sword. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran.

A Leader is Not Afraid to Kill

What else have we got about leadership from this man? He was not afraid to draw blood; he was not afraid to kill. There are peopleóI hope you understand thisóthere are people in this world who need killing. One of the characteristics of a leader, whose job it is to defend is, he is not afraid to kill people who need killing. I donít know if you know this or not but, in the old days in Texas, you could go into court and you could make a defense in a case of a killing that "the man needed killing." If the jury agreed with you, you went free because everybody knew there are people who need killing. The world will be just a whole lot better off with them dead. Now, youíll find this theme throughout the Bible; donít get upset with me about it. I gained it from there, I didnít invent this out of my own heart and my own mind, it comes from a lot of years of reading this Book.

The true leaderóhow are we going to phrase this in terms of leadershipóhe is able to do what he must, even when he would rather not. In other words, heís not squeamish. He knows when it is time to kill. Remember Ecclesiastes 3?

Ecclesiastes 3:1 To every thing there is a season, a time to every purpose under heaven. {2} A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to pluck whatís planted. {3} A time to kill and time to heal.

So, there is a time.

So, weíve learned a lot about leadership in this one day of Davidís life. Now, I want you to think about this list. Iím going to read you our list here; that if youíre a follower of a man, what it means to you to know that these characteristics are present. He is single minded. He is audacious. Heís a man of faith. Heís realistic. Heís prepared. He is a authoritative. He assumes victory. He acts quickly and decisively. He comes to fight, not to talk. He knows when it is time to kill.

I think you might see why that would breed confidence in the people who would follow himóthat they know precisely who he is, they know precisely where he is going, they know what kind of a man he is, they know where his center is, they know what his core values are, and they know they can depend on him to be the same way tomorrow that he was today. This is a man who can inspire confidence if youíre not afraid of him. Thatís the key. Either way, it describes the kind of person you and I might call charismatic. But there is a lot more than this to be learned from Davidóa lot moreóthis is only the beginning of a list of the characteristics of leadership that we could pull.

For example, in I Samuel 18:14, it says this:

I Samuel 18:14 David behaved himself wisely in all his ways and the Lord was with him. Wherefore, when Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, he was afraid of him.

A Leader Manages his Behavior and his Conduct

A leader manages his behavior, he manages his conduct and he values wisdom. A person like this can be intimidating to a fearful person, as David was to Saul. Because when the Spirit of God departed from Saul, this man who himself had been a warrior of no small merit, at one time in his life, who was head and shoulders - physically - above all the people of Israel at that time and was a great combat commander, he was not really a leader. When the Spirit of the Lord departed from him, he became fearful, easy to intimidateófrankly, a little bit crazyóand he was intimidated by David.

I Samuel 18, the story here is fascinating because one of the little awards David was supposed to get was Saulís daughter to be his wife. Now I donít know what that meant to David altogether, but what it meant socially was an enormous position of authority, visibility and power; to be married to the kingís daughter. Saul said, hereís what weíre going to do, say this to David.

I Samuel 18:25 The king doesnít want any dowry for his daughter, what he wants is one hundred foreskins of the Philistines to be avenged of the kingís enemies. But what Saul thought was to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines.

He thought, Iím going to send him out there to fight these people and heíll die in the process.

I Samuel 18:26 Now when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well to be the kingís son-in-law and the days hadnít expired.

Heís fascinatingóthey come and tell this and he doesnít say, "Oh, good grief, a hundred foreskins of the Philistines; you know how dangerous thatís going to be?" When they told him, it pleased him. He said, "Oh, hey, thatís a good deal. I can handle that." And he went out and did so.

I Samuel 18:27 David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men. (I presume he killed them before he collected the foreskins.) And they gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the kingís son-in-law. And Saul gave him Michal, his daughter, to wife.

A Leader is a Fighter

A leader is a fighter and doesnít hesitate when the time comes to fight. Now, Iíve noticed something; you may have heard this and itís a good time to observe it, weíre in a political campaign right now. A lot of politicians like to talk about being fighters. They describe themselves as fighters and say, "I will fight for you!" Now they are going to fight for you on Social Security, theyíre going to fight for you on health care, theyíre going to fight for you on jobs; theyíve got this whole list of things theyíre going fight about. Now, hereís what they mean. They mean they are going to argue on your behalf. They mean theyíre going to go into the halls of Congress and argue to get you what you want as a person, to try to provide you with these things. They mean that theyíre going to go into Congress and cut deals. "I will vote for your bill, but youíve got to vote for mine." And they will sell two or three things down the river, in order to get this thing that they said they would fight for. What they really mean is "Iíll trade for you, Iíll bargain for you, Iíll argue for you", but thatís not what they say. They say they will fight for you. They will talk a man to death for you, is what they mean.

But, you see, when weíre talking about the officeóletís say of the President (which weíre all going to be going out and voting for, I trust, before long)óis whether or not they are prepared to shed blood in the defense of the country. David was. Are they prepared to shed blood? Ours and the enemies? Because you canít fight a war if youíre afraid to shed your own blood. You canít fight a war if youíre afraid to have even one of your men killed. You have to realize that battle is dangerous, that war is a terrible thing. Youíve got to hate war in order to be a good leader and to fight it, but you also got to fight it.

Would they go out and be prepared to shed blood in defense of the country or would they rather talk endlessly to diplomats while killers roam at large? This is the question and, so, the leadership question weíre talking about here. I know these politicians will talk a good fight for me but which of them is prepared to bring me one hundred foreskins of the Philistines?

What Does Davidís Name Mean?

Oh yes, I mentioned to you earlier the meaning of Davidís name, didnít I, and I said weíd come back to that. David in Hebrew means, "loving." You can almost understand why they would name their daughter David and why many men might not name their sons David, I suppose. But his name means "loving" and I think thereís something really important in this. You remember in I Samuel 18, after this great victory and after everybody was praising David to high heaven,

I Samuel 18:1 It came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan, Saulís son, was knit with the soul of David and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. {2} And Saul took David that day and would let him go no more to his fatherís house. {3} Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own life.

You know, you canít bind like that with people who arenít capable of loving. It just doesnít happen. That both of these menóDavid and Jonathanówere men very capable of loving and this stupid foolishness people talk about there being a homosexual relationship somehow between David and Jonathan, are completely without understanding. Because the Bible said that it passed the love of women, which is the Bibleís way of saying this transcended any sexual relationship at all. It was not like that. There is such a thing as male bonding and itís very real. It can be very strong and it can last longer than, frankly in many cases than I think many people would ever realize that it would. So, the love that was there was powerful.

Now, you probably, also, if youíve read your Bible, realize there is some fascinating scriptures in here between II Samuel chapters 18 and 23, where it describes the men who followed David. These were men who had bark on. These were the kind of people who wore their clothes out from the inside. They were tough. They were hard. They were fighters. They were in incredible physical condition. They could run over hill and dale mile after mile after mile after mile and never slow down. They were staggering in their accomplishments in battle and yet, every one of these men would have given his life for David. They would have followed him anywhere. As they say, he would have "charged Hell with a bucket of water for David." These are the kind of men that he was able to inspire this leadership in.

Now, how did he do that and what was it about David that enabled these men to do that? Well, all these things that we read before are important, but there is one thing that is even more important than that. And you will find it in II Samuel 23:14 in a curious little incident. Any man who has ever sat for very long around a campfire and swapped yarns with other guys, knows just exactly how this kind of thing can happen.

II Samuel 23:14 David was in the hold and the garrison of the Philistines was in Bethlehem at the time. {15} And David longed and said "Oh, I wish someone would give me a drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, the one by the gate. Oh, that is the sweetest water."

There they are drinking water out of skins, you know, that has taste to it and all this and he said "Iíd really love to have that." So,

II Samuel 23:16 the three mighty men broke through the host of the Philistines (killing, I have no idea, how many of them to get there), drew water out of the well of Bethlehem by the gate, took it and brought it to David.

Now some kind of leaders would have swaggered over that, drank the water in their presence and, you know, made great posturing of it. Not David. He wouldnít drink it. He poured it out to Jehovah, on the ground and he said,

II Samuel 23:17 Far be it from me, O Lord, that I should do this! Is not this the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?" Therefore, he would not drink it.

Why? Because he loved these men, thatís why. And this gesture, in one way, it humbled them. In one way it was a correction to them, but it showed tremendous admiration for them on his part and love for them, that he was not willing for them to risk their lives over something trivial. He wasnít willing for them to risk their blood so he could have a drink of water. He loved them.

A Leader Must Have the Power to Love

And this may well be the most important of all the characteristics of leadership that I have mentioned for you. It is the power to love. I was so struck when I read Rollo Mayís book on Love and Will, when he made the statement that, "when men lose the power to love, they often substitute power over." And, candidly, this is what a lot of men who seem to be and posture to be and act like theyíre leaders in the world and assume that theyíre leaders in the world, have. They have a love of power. They exercise power over as their form of leadership. The kind of leader you want is the man who still has the power to love.

So we have an incomplete list of the characteristics of leadership that we can learn from David, but we have still picked up a great deal from this.

A leader is single minded. He knows his own mind and knows what he has to do and does it. Heís audacious. He is also a man of faith, who believes in God, consults God, trusts God. He is realistic. He has to face what has to be done, but he knows what the risks are. A leader is prepared. He takes the necessary steps to see to it that he has what he needs to win. Heís authoritative. He does not proceed on his own authority, he proceeds on the authority of God. He assumes victory. He doesnít go out with a defeatist attitude, saying "Oh, woe is me, Iím going to lose this for sure." He goes out thinking heís going to win. He acts quickly. He acts decisively. He comes to fight, not to talk. He knows when it is time to kill, he also knows when itís time not to kill. A leader manages his behavior. He manages his conduct. A leader values wisdom. A leader is a fighter and killer if he has to be. And a leader is a loving man, who cares deeply about the people whom he leads.

And I wonder if, perhaps, in going through this whole list of things here, we have stumbled on to an explanation of why it was that David was a man after Godís own heart (Acts 13:22.)

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This article was transcribed from a sermon given by Ronald L. Dart on October 16, 2004 (Audio tape #0442.) Transcribed by kdo 01/2005

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Ronald L. Dart is an evangelist and is heard daily and weekly on his Born to Win radio program. The program can be heard on over one hundred radio stations across the nation.

In the Portsmouth, Ohio area you can listen to the Born to Win radio program on Sundays at 7:30 a.m. and at 12:30 p.m. on WNXT 1260.

You can contact him at Christian Educational Ministries, P.O. Box 560 Whitehouse, Texas 75791 - Phone: (903) 509-2999 - 1-888-BIBLE-44

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