Spiritual Leadership: Succeeding Successfully

by Pastor Brett Fuller It is 1966 and the Green Bay Packers have just won the inaugural Super Bowl. They would repeat as champs in 1967. Those two Super Bowl victories were preceded by three NFL Championships in five years (’61, ’62, ’65). Coach Vince Lombardi architected this franchise to dominate the gridiron of the 60’s unlike any other NFL team in prior decades. He retired after the 1967 season. Are you able to name the identity of his successor?

Moses was gone. Joshua had just assumed the leadership post of his nation (Joshua 1:1-9). Though most might consider this an admirable position for which to strive, he was probably in the minority. Seriously, who would want to follow his predecessor? Moses was the pronouncer of national plagues. He was the vanquisher of nations without a sword needing to be unsheathed. He was he divider of seas and the one who could make boulders gush enough water to quench the thirst of two million people, along with their flocks and herds. Even if Joshua was successful, wouldn’t he always be measured by the man who possessed the most complete leadership package in history?

Knowing Moses was a hard act to follow, God gave Joshua a prescription that would address his insecurity. Joshua 1:8 says,

“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”

Meditating on the word of God is unlike pondering other material. While all words are packed with meaning, Hebrews 4:12 says the words that God speaks are, “…living and active, sharper than any two edged sword.” Thus, speaking, thinking and doing God’s will allows us to interact with living print in a way that brings vitality to weak, ailing or dead things.

Joshua had learned from Moses as much as anyone could. Still, he was called for a different purpose, in a different time. He wondered whether he possessed the requisite skills to build a house equal to the foundation Moses laid. His confidence to succeed would be bolstered if he would follow the Lord’s prescription.

Most good leaders have been taught to do what they do; and they perform with aplomb. Still, there are those good leaders who become great because they add to the deposit inherited from their teachers. In bringing their obedience, and the Bible’s promises into the presence of God, they regularly remind Him of their calling. In this environment, they allow their faith to become the catalyst for inner transformation, and thereby become the leaders who make their own history.

To make the trek from good to great, God’s word must be in our mind, mouth and actions.

Lest our pride wrongly separates us, honor and respect must be rendered to our instructors while fresh vision emerges. Indeed, unending expressions of appreciation for our spiritual fathers and pastors should accompany our hope for the future. Eccl 7:18 says it best, “It is good that you grasp one thing and also not let go of the other; for the one who fears God comes forth with both of them.” The need for maintaining this balance cannot be over emphasized.

Distinguish yourself from the long shadows of greatness and become who you are to be. The people whom God has called you to serve are waiting.

Oh, the successor to Vince Lombardi had a coaching record of 20-21-1. His name was Phil Bengtson. Live right, live well…