A Leader is Trustworthy
Introduction: In today’s world we find ourselves with a shortage of real, effective leadership. We have seen over the last several decades that leaders have chosen to forsake true leadership and instead have pursued celebrity. Those looked up to as leaders are very seldom men and women of character, but instead are mere leaders of status. People follow them because they have to. It is the way things have always been done.
I listen to a lot of podcasts of differing varieties. Most of them have to do with business and leadership. Even the ones produced by those who aren’t Christians recognize that leaders cease to be truly effective when they lack character. Boss’s who cheat the system will likely foster employees that cheat him.
Thankfully, the fact that there is a lack of leadership in the world today opens up an opportunity. Even the world is crying out for truly effective leaders of character, and these leaders are needed from politics all the way to the family.
Often when we think of leadership we think of positional leadership. We think that in order to be an effective leader we must first obtain a title. However, that is usually not the example we find in Scripture. Leaders in the Bible were often effective in spite of their position rather than because of it. The example that we will consider is the life of Paul. Paul was an extremely effective leader. Although he did have the position of apostle, in the eyes of the world that did not count for very much. In we see Paul rise to the occasion in a very hostile secular environment. In the situation Paul finds himself in is definitely not positional leadership. In fact, he is being transported in chains as a prisoner.
Paul was bought to Caesarea as a prisoner to be transported to Rome for trial before Caesar.
Review how Paul became a prisoner
When Paul began the journey to Rome he was clearly the low man on the totem pole. Prisoners have no authority and no say in what goes on. Paul was placed on a ship selected for him by the Romans and he was put in the custody of Julius. Julius, we are told in Scripture was a centurion of the Augustan regiment. So Julius was the leader of an imperial cohort. Julius had at least a hundred men under his command, and each of these men were selected to serve Rome for their elite skills. Not only was there then centurion and some of his men on the ship but there was also the captain of the ship, his first officer, and their staff. So, there were a lot of people on this ship who outranked Paul.
But At Liberty
But At Liberty
After only one day of traveling and on the first stop of the trip Luke write, “And Julius treated Paul with kindness and gave him liberty to go to his friends and receive care. This was highly irregular. Paul was a pretty high profile prisoner. To lose Paul would be disastrous. Paul was enough of a high profile political prisoner that he stood before Felix, Festus, and Agrippa and was now even slated to see Nero himself. He had been a prisoner for more than two years and was deemed a threat to the Pax Romana. He was blamed for starting riots. The charge that was brought before Felix was
For we have found this man a plague, a creator of dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.
And the next day we landed at Sidon. And Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him liberty to go to his friends and receive care.
You don’t just give prisoners like that freedom to see their friends. If Paul was lost, Julius would pay with his life. Why would Julius give Paul liberty. There is only one possible explanation: Julius trusted Paul.
A Leader is Trustworthy
A Leader is Trustworthy
Somehow over the first day of the trip Paul convinced Julius that we would never do anything that would cost Julius personally. Perhaps Julius had been told that Paul was trustworthy because he treats Paul the same way that Felix did.
So he commanded the centurion to keep Paul and to let him have liberty, and told him not to forbid any of his friends to provide for or visit him.
It was also true that Luke and Aristarchus were traveling with Paul. Julius could see that Paul was so loved and cared for by his friends that he must be a man of character. Luke and Aristarchus accompanied Paul at great cost to themselves. Historians believe that they would not have been able to accompany Paul unless they submitted themselves to being transported as slaves. They were clearly commited to Paul. Julius could also see that Paul’s friends at Sidon were commited to him despite the fact that he was a prisoner.
How does a leader develop trust? He acts in such a way that those around him are convinced that he will do whatever is in their best interest and not in his own. He honestly cares for others. Julius and Paul’s friends were convinced that Paul had their best interests at heart.
So, this is how the journey begins. Because Julius trusts Paul, Paul is, even as captive, setting the stage to lead his captors. A true leader is not consumed with his own needs, but rather he is consumed with meeting the needs of those under him. He understands that in order to be successful as a leader, those under him must be the most successful that they can be as individuals.
A person cannot be a truly effective leader until he is trusted. A leader cannot operate for his own selfish gain because if he does eventually those who follow him will abandon him because they do not trust him. A leader must win the heart of others to the extent that they trust him with their well-being and even their own lives.
Conclusion: Here is how you can identify a good leader. Look at those around him and how they relate to him. If those around him trust him then he has earned it. People do not give trust to those who have not earned it. That trust comes from a leader who has given of himself for the success and well-being of others and those under him know it. In the case of Paul, Julius was so convinced of Paul’s character and care for others that he let him go to his friends. Paul, of course, did come back which continued to strengthen that trust with Julius.