On Monday I started a two-part post on “The Overlooked Leadership Chapter.”
Today is a continuation of that post. Please read that first before continuing. You can read that article by clicking here.
I mentioned that Paul exhibited four critical leadership traits in Acts 20:
On Monday I covered Contriteness and Compassion. Here are Composure and Courage:
It tells us in Acts 20:19 that Paul served the Lord: “…with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews;” Paul endured a lot of heartache as well as physical difficulties as he walked with Jesus and served Jesus. Additionally, he tells us in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27: “…with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.”
Over all of this, we can write one word—composure. Paul was focused on Jesus, on his character and his promises. He stayed the course, kept his wits about him. Many of the early Christians didn’t fare much better. Even today, except in the west, our brothers and sisters around the world pay a heavy price for following and serving Jesus. Many of them, like Paul, face hardship and even death with a quiet dignity and composure that only He can give them. I must confess that I often get angry and upset when I face difficulties and challenges in the ministry. I’m not at all composed, and yet don’t face a fraction of what Paul and others have experienced.
In Acts 20:20 and 27, we read: “…how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house,… for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.”
With the Ephesian elders Paul shared what they needed to hear, not perhaps what they wanted to hear. He didn’t hold anything back that was important for them to receive from him. He wasn’t interested in a popularity contest, but in being a truth-teller--all of the truth, not just the easy stuff. He had the courage to be brutally honest with them in his communication
I love what some of the Pharisees said about Jesus: “Teacher, we know you have integrity, teach the way of God accurately, are indifferent to popular opinion, and don’t pander to your students.” Matthew 22:16 (The Message)
Paul is simply following in Jesus’ footsteps in being a straight and honest communicator. Part of leadership is being courageous with the truth and telling it like it is, whether people want to heart it or not. “…speaking the truth in love,…” (Ephesians 4:15.) Not being so loving that I’m not truthful, and not being so truthful that I’m not loving; not always an easy balance to attain.
In the heat of battle David’s man, Joab, reminded the people: “Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God,…” 2 Samuel 10:12 (ESV). I need to be constantly reminded to be of good courage and to be courageous as I trust in and rest in Jesus in my leadership responsibilities.
So, here in Acts 20, the other leadership chapter, I see these four gigantic leadership qualities of Contriteness, Compassion, Composure and Courage. I am strongly motivated to continue to grow in all of these as I am led by him, empowered by him and honor him.