"Assuredly, I say to you, "unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of Heaven." Matthew 18:3
The disciples came to Jesus and asked Him who the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven was and He called a little child to Him and set him in their midst. He was illustrating to the twelve the importance of being childlike in their faith, innocent in their motive, and transparent in their behavior.
Kingdom leadership is totally opposite from the worldly corporate mindset of climbing the ladder of success, instead, the man God chooses to lead His people must die, he must be tried in the furnace of affliction and trial and most importantly, he must first be led before he can lead. The first and foremost attribute of a leader in God's kingdom is being led by the Chief Shepherd Himself.
Jesus spent three years training the twelve for service in His kingdom, they were the main focus of His ministry on earth. The men He chose were not scholars, but humble fishermen and common laborers, more than likely illiterate, but they were willing to lay down their lives and give up all to follow Jesus. Would men like these ever be considered to be leaders in today's religious world of "Mega churches" and denominational hierarchy? Absolutely not!
"Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven." Matthew 18:4
GOD'S CHOSEN LEADER
"Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons." I Samuel 16:1
God, displeased with Saul and his performance as king told the prophet Samuel to go to the house of Jesse and anoint one of his sons as king over His people Israel. When Samuel arrived he inspected seven of Jesse's sons, all fine young men, but God had not chosen any of them. Samuel then asked Jesse, "Are all the young men here?" Jesse responded, there is yet one, the youngest and here he is tending the sheep.
Out of all those son's God chose the least, a lowly shepherd boy, already in training, tending his father's flock, unaware that he was about to be thrust into the spotlight of the world. Imagine, a kid tending sheep about to be leader and king over millions of God's people. Today we wouldn't even consider someone like that to be a leader, after all he hasn't been to seminary and he doesn't have a doctorate in religion, how could he possibly lead God's people?
I have observed for over thirty years in the world of church and religion the ways of men in their choice of leadership, always looking at their credentials and their ability to amass crowds of people with their eloquent preaching and their talent for taking an offering. Treated like little kings they strut about like so many little roosters pecking and crowing about their accomplishments and bragging about how many they ran on Sunday. I wonder were they ran them to, hell?
For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. I Samuel 16:7
A MAN AFTER GOD'S HEART
The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people. I Samuel 13: 14
David had spent many lonely nights in the fields of his father tending sheep and learning to hear God's voice. With harp in hand he would worship the Most High under the stars as he began to receive understanding from the very throne of God. Leadership begins with intimacy and worship in order for the man of God to be able to hear and discern his Master's voice.
Upon being chosen and anointed the sweet psalmist of Israel began his quest by entering into warfare with a distressing spirit sent from God to torment king Saul. As David played before Saul the spirit would subside giving the king relief from it's demonic hold on him. True leadership is birthed in kingdom warfare, learning the tactics of the enemies of God and dealing with them in the realm of deliverance.
David being a type and shadow of the Lord Jesus Christ is thrust upon the scene of a mighty battle between the forces of darkness and and the armies of God. Israel being a type of the church and the Philistines being a type of the powers of darkness. Goliath is a type of a principality, or a prince over a territory, a major player in the realm of kingdom warfare. To defeat a principality the church must engage as an army in order to defeat such a foe just as David is about to illustrate.
And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath whose height was six cubits and a span. I Samuel 17:4
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
Goliath had literally stopped the army of God in its tracks and had them sitting in fear, totally dismayed before their enemies, the Philistines. This is the tactics of a principality, to stop all forward motion and to paralyze with fear, doubt and unbelief.
Today the church is no different from the armies of Israel, defeated, divided and huddled together in little sheep pens and scared to death to move out under the mighty hand of the Commander of the host, the Lord Jesus Christ. Just like the disciples sitting in the boat when Jesus came walking on the water, scared by the storm and fearing for their life, until He said, "Fear not!"
David wasn't afraid, he had killed both the lion and the bear in mortal combat while he was tending his father's sheep, he was trained in the fields to use a sling with deadly accuracy and this nine foot bully was no different than a wild beast. David knew the Lord and had experienced firsthand His delivering power in the fields fighting for the sheep, and this giant was about to become food for the birds of the air!
King Saul tried to get him to use his armor and weapons of war but they were to cumbersome and David had not tried them out, he felt more comfortable with his knowledge of God and his sling. Knowing who he was and to Whom he belonged gave him the power to overcome the enemies of God. Being taunted by the giant, David didn't waste any time in approaching the battle line.
David quickly gathered up five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd's bag. The stones represent the five-fold ministry of the church, the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher sent to the body to train them for service and part of their service is spiritual warfare. The first stone to be sent was the apostle, empowered to plant and sent by the Holy Spirit to defeat the enemies of God.
Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine. I Samuel 17:40
THE BATTLE IS THE LORD'S
Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied." I Samuel 17:45
David knew that the Lord was the One who fought his battles, and that the fleshly works of man were of no avail. Without hesitation he rushed the giant, put a stone in his sling and let it fly, striking Goliath in the forehead and he fell to the ground.
True kingdom leadership involves the wisdom and knowledge to let God reign in every situation, leaning not on one's own understanding and allowing Holy Spirit to bring the victory. The giants in your life have already been defeated by the finished works of Calvary where Jesus conquered the powers of darkness and defeated the devil!
David went on to be one of the greatest leaders and military commanders of all time, many times winning and sometimes losing, but always trusting God throughout his life. He sought God's direction and leading in his life before he would venture out in the flesh and when he was tired and distraught he would strengthen himself in the Lord. We would do well to take a hard look at his life and follow his example in all of our leadership endeavors.
Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. Zechariah 4:6