I enjoy fine dining at restaurants. There is something special about being served a nice hot meal coupled with deep conversation with your spouse or even a close friend.
The ambiance is usually great and the environment quite conducive for an enjoyable evening.
Of course that is not how the kitchen is. Most times something different is going on behind the scenes. The kitchen is usually overcrowded, the grounds sometimes slippery, kitchen staff yelling orders and rushing with dishes of food. The constant flow in and out as well as the steam from boiling pots and the stir fry chicken all makes the kitchen look chaotic.
No one would suspect that all of this is happening on the inside while the dinning hall is filled with peaceful music and light chatter.
I have outlined this contrast to give a full description of what leadership is all about.
Most if not everyone wants to be seen, we want to be successful and be at the top of our fields. Many of us want to climb the corporate ladder or be the head of a ministry. Some want these positions of prestige in order to be loved and envied by other people but many are not aware of the many facets of leadership.
1st Kings 19 depicts the first part to this leadership series I will share with you.
In this chapter of God’s word the Prophet Elijah had just called down the power of God in the form of Fire on Mount Carmel to consume the sacrifices being offer to God. This miracle was done in the presence of 450 Prophets of Baal.
People were now convinced that the God of Elijah was true indeed, however Ahab and Jezebel were not impressed. Jezebel sent a message to Elijah promising him death. As soon as the Prophet heard this he was frightened and ran to the mountains to hide. Elijah hid in a cave and begged God to take his life instead of allowing Jezebel to kill him like the other Prophets.
Isn’t this surprising?
The brave and anointed man of God was suddenly weakened and brought to his knees by a death threat from Jezebel, to the point of beseeching God to do away with him.
He had just called down fire! In other words he had enough faith in who his God was but somehow grew tired and afraid of what a mere woman would do to him.
Just like the messy kitchen and Elijah hiding and wanting to die leaders have their own moments of chaos and distress. Anyone with much responsibility comes under much attack, not just by the enemy but also by people and their expectations.
People of influence do have their weak periods, no matter how good it looks on the outside we are sometimes dying within.
I did say we!
The more your ministry grows the more you have to hide during your phase of disenchantment.The saving grace is that God allows us privacy. Elijah performed the miracle with many viewers but who was there with him while he hid in the cave? No one… but God.
As leaders we have to put on a show (not to deceive but to inspire). People expect us to bring good news, motivate them to move to the next level and inspire them to not give up. People feed from our energy and to be honest suck us dry at the same time. As such we have to keep feeding ourselves. The people who work with us behind the scene have to also be able to build us up, in other words the kitchen staff has to be working with us to supply the needs of the dinner guests in the hall.
God has a way of hiding us when we need Him most. He keeps us away from the audience when we are not in the best state of mind. This is in His own interest. When we are down and out as His servants it is His duty (which He delights in) to feed us.
God spoke to Elijah in the cave, in fact He fed him so he could arise fresh for the task at hand that God had prepared for Him.
People honestly don’t think leaders have issues like they do. They see them in a different light, but they are human and require the same encouragement and teaching just like everybody else.
It is good to note what awaits you when your promotion comes. Be strong and ensure your peers are able to build you up when life drains you. Should all else fail, God will come through.
[photo credit: 1. www.dnv.com 2. toptenepic.com]