Genesis 33:1-3: Leaders lead.

“Jacob looked up and there was Esau, coming with his four hundred men; so he divided the children among Leah, Rachel and the two female servants. He put the female servants and their children in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph in the rear. He himself went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother.” NIV

I heard about a senior Australian officer who said, ‘The problem with Australian soldiers is that they don’t like to take orders. But, if you step out of the trenches first and say, ‘’Follow me lads’’, they’ll be with you heart and soul.’

The way Jacob organised his family reflected his priorities. His greatest love was for Rachel and Joseph, and it appears he placed them where he imagined they would be safest – at the back. One of the main lessons I learned, when part of a creative writing group, was, ‘show rather than tell.’ This is what the writer is doing. We can see who Jacob most wanted to protect.

But note that ‘He himself went on ahead…’ (3). Leadership has to go out in front. We have to lead by example; we must step into the ‘danger zone’ first. As a general rule of thumb, leaders cannot ask followers to take risks; to make sacrifices; to do difficult things they themselves are not prepared to do. Leaders lead. They go over the top first.

PRAYER: We pray, Lord, for the leaders in your church, that they may lead with wisdom and courage.