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Gideon: Sharing Potential
God helped Gideon to see his potential and he began to shape it with his first leadership action, demolishing the altar of Baal. But God’s calling for Gideon was to deliver his people from the Midianites. Reaching this goal required Gideon to share his potential with others. So he called men around him to go and fight the Midianites. Gideon was beginning to share his potential with those that God called him to lead. He needed a team around him.
1 Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. 2 The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ 3 Now announce to the army, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained….
17 “Watch me,” he told them. “Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. 18 When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon.’” 19 Gideon and the hundred men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands. 20 The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” 21 While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled. (Judges 7:1-3; 17-21)
At this point in his leadership journey, Gideon was beginning to share his potential with others. Servant leaders learn from Gideon that they cannot fully reach their own potential until they are helping others reach theirs. God gives potential to leaders so that they will share it with others.
Potential is shared by choosing others to join. Gideon chose others to be on his team. He called them to join his cause and to follow the vision he had just received from God. A few days before, these men were at their homes afraid to do anything. Gideon helps them to see their potential as God helped him to see his own. By choosing them, he communicates that “If God can use me, He can also use you!”
Servant leaders choose others because they see potential warriors. Gideon first accepted all who were willing. But he followed God’s instructions and finally reduced the number to only 300, the right people to be on his team. Servant leaders realize that while numbers are important, size is not the measure of success; obedience is. All leaders select others; servant leaders allow God to guide them in the process of choosing their team. They share their potential by choosing others to join with them.
Potential is shared by calling others to act. “Watch me,” he told them. “Follow my lead.” Gideon was not being arrogant or proud, he was simply calling others to act. He shared his vision with them and now calls them to join in the action. His vision becomes a shared vision.
Gideon’s first leadership action was alone; now he shares his potential by inviting others to act. A “mighty warrior” can act alone but a mighty leader calls others to action. Servant leaders share their potential by calling others to act on the shared vision.
Potential is shared by challenging others to grow. Gideon calls the men to an attack in the middle of the night, a difficult assignment. He shares potential with others by giving them challenging assignments that will help them grow and develop confidence in their own abilities. Servant leaders deliberately give assignments to others to help them develop their own potential. And together they win the victory! God called Gideon a “mighty warrior.” Now Gideon calls forth 300 mighty warriors. Servant leaders are not just called to be warriors, but to raise up other warriors. They share their potential with others.
Share your potential with your team, whether that is a handful in your family, a small group that you lead, employees in your business, a church or community group. Choose them, call them to act and challenge them to grow. With God’s help, your team will accomplish the dream together.
Until next time, yours on the journey,
Reflections for Servant Leaders
For further reflection and discussion:
In the next issue, we’ll look at how Gideon sabotaged his potential.
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