Spiritual leadership Principle: There is a reason why you are living. You have a God given purpose for your life. If you want to maximize your leadership and reach your potential it requires finding your purpose and obeying what God has called you to do.
Story: The Book of Jonah in the Bible
The story of Jonah is a perfect example of why a leader must know and follow God’s plans and purpose. After God directed Jonah to travel to Nineveh to give a prophetic message, the God following leader was fearful and started to travel by ship in the opposite direction. This verse states he was “hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.” However, God’s plans where bigger than Jonahs and He caused a strong storm to happen which threatened to tear the ship apart.
The captain told everyone to start praying and they cast lots to determine who was responsible for the storm. Once Johan was found to be the culprit, the people knew the storm was from God because he had previously told the sailors he was running away from Him. Johan told them the solution to the problem was to throw him into the sea and after great resistance the sailors did.
This is when the story gets really interesting!
In most cases the person would have not have survived. However, God’s plan for Johan, just as with you, also comes with a sufficient amount of love, mercy, and patience. Johan 1:17 says, “Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights.” What does a person do while trapped inside a fish? Jonah had plenty of time to think about the choices he had made and his current situation. However, I think most of the time was spent in prayer. The second chapter mentions Jonah praying from inside the fish, shows what he prayed (which was the majority of the chapter), followed by the fish spitting him up on the beach.
Once Jonah was on the beach God spoke to him a second time saying, “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you.” When God is speaking a second time to use someone after disobedience it is always a relief. Being a little wiser than the last time Jonah obeyed and went to the city of Nineveh. Due to the large size of the city it took Jonah 3 days to communicate the message to everyone. It’s interesting to me Jonah was in the fish for 3 days and it also took three days to accomplish what Jonah was called to do. The people of Nineveh believed the message and fasted to show their repentance over the lifestyle they were living in.
One of the people Jonah influenced with the message was another leader, the King of Nineveh. Chapter 3:6-9 says,
When the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying, he stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes. He dressed himself in burlap and sat on a heap of ashes. Then the king and his nobles sent this decree throughout the city:
“No one, not even the animals from your herds and flocks, may eat or drink anything at all. People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning, and everyone must pray earnestly to God. They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence. Who can tell? Perhaps even yet God will change his mind and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.”
The result of Jonah’s effort and fulfilling his purpose was that the people turned from their old ways and started to serve God.
This story has some essential leadership principles:
You have a purpose
Purpose is defined as, “the reason for which something exists or is done.” Everyone has a life purpose with specific tasks God has called only you to do. It’s essential a leader discovers their God given purpose. The greatest fulfillment comes when a leader is obeying God and walking in the direction He has called them to go. A good indicator of if you have a purpose here or not is if you are breathing. If you’re still breathing then you still have work to do here on earth.
The next part will further discuss the wisdom and insight we can learn from the above story.
Questions: Have you found your God given purpose yet? What are some leadership principles we can learn from this story?