Lead like a humble dictator.
In sixth-century BC Rome, a farmer named Cincinnatus quietly tended his fields. Though widely known for his prowess on the battlefield, he resisted accepting a military command because his family would starve without him.
When the Roman Senate begged him to accept a military dictatorship in order to defend the city, he finally acquiesced.
Immediately after his victory over the invading tribes, Cincinnatus handed the mantle of power back to the senate and headed home. In later years they asked him to leave his modest life again to fight off a revolt, and when this second dictatorship drew to a close, he eagerly returned to his family again.
Cincinnatus is considered one of Rome’s greatest leaders because of his selfless service, unlike most of the rulers that followed.
Two hundred years before this benevolent dictator saved Rome, the prophet Micah idealized the concept of humble duty and honor without concern for self. “And what does the Lord require of you?” he asked the disobedient, ungrateful Israelites. “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Mic. 6:8b, NIV).
A leader who acts justly will go to battle to protect liberty, law, and life. Though he slays the enemy, he will practice mercy and humility when the fighting is over.
Sometimes the equation of justice and mercy doesn’t balance. For instance, you can act justly and hate the action because of the pain it inflicts. This internal conflict is common in great leaders.
God commands us to stand up for justice. He expects us to have mercy on those who don’t expect it—and maybe even don’t deserve it.
As we lead, we are to not just act humbly, but walk in reliance on God—our own supreme leader and defender.
Tom Harper – 6 leadership principles of the Old Testament