The Bible teaches: “If any sets his heart on being a leader, he desires a noble task.” – First Timothy 3:1
“Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. (1 Kings 3:7-10 — NIV).
“Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.” Then Solomon went to Jerusalem from the high place at Gibeon, from before the tent of meeting. And he reigned over Israel. (2 Chronicles 1:10-13 — NIV).
Seeking to be in position of power and authority is an honorable ambition and a noble duty (1Timothy 3:1). However; to lead requires wisdom, discernment, understanding, knowledge, counsel and delight in the LORD. King Solomon realized the need for godly wisdom for leadership despite his physical attributes and family heritage when he asked God for wisdom, knowledge and discerning heart to lead the nation of Israel (1 Kings 3:7-10; 2 Chronicles 1:10-12).
As I ponder over the uncertain and horrendous times in which we live, the Word of the Lord continues to be my anchor to discern and understand that lack of God-empowered leadership is one of the main causes our travails and problems. Lack of authentic, wise, moral and visionary leadership is the primary cause for poverty, hunger, disease and the travails of many nations today.
The truth is that our world does not lack men and women with natural abilities to lead; but what is lacking is the failure and inability to govern with godly fear and in the wisdom of God
King Solomon, one of the greatest kings of all time realized the need for godly wisdom for leadership despite his natural attributes when he prayed to God in First Kings 3:7-9 for wisdom and discerning heart to govern the people of Israel.
God was very pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom to lead his people of Israel.
God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have” (2 Chronicles 1:10-12).
King Solomon became not only the wisest man that ever lived but also the wealthiest man and King to have reigned on earth. His godly leadership brought peace, favor, wealth, happiness, joy, good justice, power, strength, safety, protection, blessings, prosperity and respect to his people and nation of Israel. King Solomon’s wisdom was clearly demonstrated in his skillful leadership, cabinet of administrators, administration of justice, choosing of district governors, advisers and the construction of the Temple and Palace which was the highlight of his reign as King.
The reign of King Solomon was so glorious and impactful that other great nations like Babylon, Assyria, Ethiopia and their rulers sought audience with King Solomon to see his kingdom and seek the wisdom that God had put in his heart and especially to find solution to their social, economic, trade, defense, and political problems.
One of those leaders was the Queen of Sheba of Ethiopia. Her primary purpose for visiting King Solomon was to observe his wisdom and wealth. But she also went to visit King Solomon in order to seek answers for personal questions and to discuss about trade and defense for her kingdom. Queen of Sheba visited King Solomon in Jerusalem about six thousand years ago with a caravan of valuable gifts because she needed answers for the social, economic and political problems confronting her kingdom. She came to seek for political alliance, defense, trade and economic relationship. After the meeting the Queen was highly impressed with Solomon’s wisdom as well as the adornment of the Kings Palace, services and the brilliance of his officials. She returned home fully impressed and satisfied.
And so, leadership wisdom is the ability and capacity to lead wisely, morally, courageously and compassionately. It is leadership that is inspired and empowered by God. Leadership wisdom is the ability to create an enviable environment in which citizens can thrive, prosper and reach their fullest potential. It is about being an excellent steward of a nation’s natural resources and especially human talents.
Most of the leaders who made impact in our world had been those who led wisely, courageously and compassionately. Just a few days ago, a brilliant American historian told me that Abraham Lincoln, Lyndon Johnson and Martin Luther King Jr. – were perhaps the wisest and most notable American leaders who made significant impact to American society and the world.
The U.S. president Abraham Lincoln, even though he served only one term from 1861 to 1865 and was assassinated in 1865 before his re-election, yet he remained the greatest of all the American presidents till date. He is comparable to King Solomon in many ways.
First, he was a devout man of God, who challenged the American people to read the Bible. In fact he always said and argued strongly that mere reading the entire Bible can give more knowledge than someone who obtained a bachelors degree from a university.
Second, he was a wise and skillful leader who appointed godly officials in his administration, opposed slave trade, which he abolished in 1863, and fought for the unification of a divided country through his generous and compassionate reconciliation policies against the wishes of his republican party. He left a lasting influence on U.S. political values by redefining republican values and promoting nationalism and patriotism. During his time, many leaders of the world came to America which opened up the massive migration of people to the U.S, which has continued till today. Also during his presidency the United States snatched from Britain and France their glory, which has remained until today.
President Lincoln did not only abolish slave trade through the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, but he applied his God-given wisdom to unite a nation and preserved the Union through a policy of reconciliation despite the apposition from his party. That is why he is regarded as the father of the American nation.
Another president like Lincoln, was Lyndon Baines Johnson – simply referred as President LBJ. He served as the 36th President of the United States from 1963 to 1969 following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He was able to unite the nation after the assassination of Kennedy. He also galvanized the nation through introduction of his historic domestic legislation – “Great Society” designed to “expand civil rights, public broadcasting, Medicare, Medicaid, aid to education, the arts, urban and rural development, public services and his “War on Poverty” and the passage of many major laws that affected civil rights, gun control, wilderness preservation, and Social Security.” He was also a very devout man and he led with wisdom and fear of God.
Another great American leader, who made both national and global impact was the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who inspired the United States of America and the world with his non-violent civil right activities and the famous “I have a Dream” speech, which electrified the entire nation to rethink of its segregation and enslavement laws. His powerful oratory and wise leadership freed an entire nation from hate, bigotry and self-destruction and gave millions freedom and hope around the world.
Out of Africa, we had a global and iconic leader – Nelson Mandela, an anti-apartheid activist and international icon of freedom who defeated the apartheid regime of South Africa with wisdom and patience. He became the leader of African National Congress (ANC) while in prison where he quietly and patiently served unjustly for more than quarter of a century. He won the hearts of millions of people across the globe, which eventually led to the defeat of apartheid and dethronement of the racist regime of South Africa. Nelson Mandel became the first black president of free and rich South Africa. Within four years of his presidency, he introduced policies of reconciliation that led to the multi-racial democracy and prosperity that South Africa enjoys today. He was truly a global icon and great leader who led with such wisdom and dignity.
Many world leaders and thinkers who made significant impact and contributed immensely to world peace and prosperity like Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Lyndon Johnson, Franklin Roosevelt, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Charles De Gaulle, John F. Kennedy, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II, Billy Graham, John Wesley, Watchman Nee, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Marcus Garvey, Toussaint Louverture, Nkwame Nkrumah, Bill Clinton etc. were men and women of great insight and wise leadership.
Even though some of them made personal mistakes, nevertheless, they led with wisdom, discernment, compassion and courage. Their leadership inspired nations and produced social, moral, economic and political prosperity not only to their respective nations but also to the entire world. Most of these political and spiritual leaders and thinkers in their autobiographies claimed that it was that higher power that encouraged and empowered them to inspire nations and to serve humanity so richly.
Such leaders surround themselves with godly and wise advisers. President Lincoln like King Solomon surrounded himself with godly and wise advisers. The political benefits a nation gains when a president surrounds himself or herself by people with godly wisdom, character and courage cannot be overemphasized.
The story and successes of Joseph and Daniel in Old Testament Scriptures clearly illustrates the political benefits of godly advisers and leadership wisdom. Today’s leaders must surround themselves with wise people not shrewd and crafty individuals but godly and compassionate advisers.
Great leadership cannot occur when a leader surround himself with crooks, criminals and self-seekers who only behave and talk like parrots. Such people are not advisers but presidential parrots who are quick to speak and most of the time they speak from both sides and wrong side of the mouth. Their words are quick, hurried and harsh and most especially lack truth and wisdom.
It is my firm belief that every nation’s president should surround himself of herself by genuine people of faith and wisdom. Any serious leader must seek for spiritual and religious advisers who have the capacity to tap into the mind and heart of God because to move in line with God’s plans, purposes and political agenda for nations, one must know the mind of God.
Today’s politicians should seek advice from religious leaders who understand history and have prophetic insights about global events. Today’s leaders must seek advice from spiritual leaders who have the capacity to tap into the glorious and powerful presence of God. They must seek guidance and protection from God through the special abilities of godly people who know how to access on timely basis into the heart of God not false religious and spiritual leaders who are self-seekers and who sacrifice their calling, mission and privileges for riches and worldly affluence. God reveals His plans, purposes and will for peoples and nations through His servants (Amos 3:7). We should not separate God from our social, economic, and political life.
Anyone aspiring to be a great leader must ask for godly wisdom in order to lead effectively and purposefully.
Godly wisdom is the most precious gift that a leader can possess. Apart from prayer, wisdom is the most important ingredient of leadership. No one can lead effectively, efficiently, genuinely and compassionately without godly wisdom. As a leader, you can receive godly wisdom and leadership anointing simply by asking God in faith.
Leadership is hard work and our world is in dire need for true leaders who have the vision, character, courage, capacity, charisma and compassion to bring peaceful solutions to the peoples of Africa and our planet.
Imagine starting now to retrain your leadership mind or begin to sow into the future generation the seed of authentic leadership from the principles of this book. Imagine starting now to teach your children and young people the skills necessary for great leadership, skills such as the art and power of listening, motivation, service, stewardship and accountability. Imagine helping your children to learn how to build character develop courage, and compassion for different peoples and cultures that inhabit the world.
Imagine training and teaching the young ones how to lead courageously and compassionately. Imagine inspiring your children to become the best in what they do. Imagine providing your children the enabling environment necessary to help them fulfill their God-given potential. That is what authentic and great leadership is all about – Live2Lead.
Leadership wisdom is the greatest need of our time. It is the most urgent and desperate need for our world. Perhaps, it is the most important need of the 21st century. God kind of leadership is the only leadership that can lead our societies into a real and genuine change. Leadership wisdom deals with the special keys, insights and inspiration for leading wisely, morally, courageously and compassionately. Leadership wisdom teaches the secrets for authentic and effective leadership, which is my cry and call for leaders of today.
C. K. Ekeke, PhD., M.Div.
Author, Consultant & Leadership Lecturer