March 4

Written by Bill Grandi on March 4th, 2024

Not all who have the title “Leader” is a leader; not all who carry the title “Follower” is a follower.

There are times a Leader is actually a follower; there are times a Follower is actually the leader.

I once heard someone say, “The one who says he is leading but has no one following is only taking a walk.”

Saul had been appointed and anointed as the first king of Israel. Given Saul’s personality and disposition, it was doomed from the get-go. He was found hiding at the start. But two incidents in his life stand out. In I Samuel 12 Saul is to wait for Samuel to arrive to offer a burnt offering but Saul got inpatient and decided to do it himself. Not smart. Rebuke #1. In a separate incident in I Samuel 15, Saul was to totally destroy the Amalekites, but instead spared the best of the animals (sheep, goats, calves, etc), as well as Agag, the king. While returning home Saul met Samuel and when questioned tried to wrangle out of his disobedience by lying and then throwing his own people under the bus. When Samuel rebuked him (#2) and turned to walk away, Saul grabbed his cloak and ripped it. Judgment was coming.

But perhaps one of the most telling incidents of Saul’s lack of leadership is found in I Samuel 14. The other two events I just mentioned sandwich this one. The Philistines outnumber the Israelite army by a lot. Saul quakes in fear of indecision. Meanwhile, his son, Jonathan, is seen with his armor-bearer taking down the enemy. Jonathan’s words in verse 6 virtually say, “Let’s do this! Perhaps God will fight for us.” In verse 7 his armor-bearer says, “I got your back.” God does intervene is ways that Jonathan’s faith in God is vindicated.

Here’s the sad part: it is only after seeing his son (the supposed follower) take the place of leadership, that Saul (the supposed “leader”) goes to battle. Saul is following, not leading; Jonathan is leading, not following.

Leadership is not easy; it is not always the path of least resistance; it is not always popular or glamorous, but leadership is seen in action, attitude, and attention. Being a follower is not always easy; it is not always the path of least resistance; nor is it popular or glamorous.

Whatever state God has placed you in, be there. Be ready to fulfill your mission.


6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Ryan S. says:

    I needed this more than you know today. Leading and following both require more than just showing up. They require a mutual respect, trust, and relationship.
    As you stated, a leader can’t lead if they do not have someone to follow. Those who follow can only wander if there is no one willing to step up to lead. The question now becomes… Am I willing to step up and lead like I am suppose to, the way I need to… or is it time for me to hand the reigns over and allow someone else to step into that roll and support them along the way.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      You make good comments Ryan but ask an even more pointed question. It does not have an easy answer.

  2. gail says:

    Good points Bill. Being a leader and a follower requires commitment from both sides. Both sides of that equation, takes using each other strengths to make the other stronger. Whether you are leading or following, you always need to be in pray for each other, making sure you are in alignment with God’s will. God teaches us many lessons, whether it’s in a leadership role or a follower. God switches them up often.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      You hit on a key element Gail: praying for each other. Neither the leader or the follower is more important than the other. They both are needed.

  3. True leaders have a vision and resolve to act, trusting that followers will see that leadership and choose to support it. It’s why our country is in such a mess today.
    Blessings, Bill!

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I will reserve my comment on the country aspect, Martha. 🙂 I do concern myself when the church is a mess.