Spiritual Leadership Principle- Purpose (Pt.1)

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.

Person: Jonah

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?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Dan our small group is currently studying the study Discovering God’s will for you life now. What I pointed out to the group and what Andy Stanley points out is that if you are aligned with God’s Providential will (what he will do regardless), Moral will (right or wrong) from the Bible, you will ultimately find God’s will for your life. I was searching for some answer like Become a speaker, or Author.. But what I now am realizing is that its not that type of direction. If we surround ourselves with Godly people we can ask questions and direction, God will usually speak through them in casual conversation. Aligning ourselves in his will will ultimately give us the direction and the path for our lives.

    • Hello Lincoln Parks,

      It sounds like a great study! I definitely think if we are connected with God and following His commandments He will direct us toward our purpose. It might be through His Spirit talking or directing us, another person affirming it, or a spark of revelation that gives us direction. Thank you for taking the time to read and add to the discussion.

  • Good point Dan. I do now my purpose for being here: “to lead people to an ever-deepening relationship with Jesus Christ by helping them find their heart.” It has focused me at times. It has also overwhelmed me at time. What can we learn? Don’t run from God’s plan. He will catch you. :)

    • That’s a great purpose Bill! Your doing a great job fulfilling it. He defiantly will catch us. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • I think I’ve found my purpose – to write, to teach others about forgiveness, mercy, redemption. But God continually changes within us, so this might change over time.

    • I can definitely see that Dan. Our gifts and talents really can help us identify our purpose. Keep focusing on what your doing because your doing a great job!

  • I love that story. Proof that Jonah found the wisdom of a true leader is the fact that he penned the book. The older I get the more I realize my purpose along with all Christians is to help others, to show them the heart of God, not just with our words, but with our actions that need to match. Good one, Dan.

    • I totally agree Floyd! It’s all about using our skills and talents to add value and help the people around us. Thank you for reading and adding to the conversation:)

  • Bernard Haynes

    I realized my purpose a few years ago. It is to help bring out the color within people lives by encouraging, equipping and empowering them to realize and live their God-designed vision.

    • That’s great Bernard. Your making a huge impact!

  • Theodore Nwangene

    Great Post Dan,

    The story of Jonah is one of the most popular story in the bible is such a way that even kids know about it.

    If you ask me, i will tell you that i haven’t fully discovered my purpose, but I’ve gotten a glimpse of it. God is still showing me the direction to follow.

    Thanks for renewing my spirit ones again.

    • Hello Theodore,

      It’s a good one:) I have learned it can take time and be a process to discover our God given purpose. I think your on the right track though. I’m glad the post renewed your spirit. Thank you for reading and sharing:)

  • Theodore Nwangene

    Great Post Dan,

    The story of Jonah is one of the most popular story in the bible is such a way that even kids know about it.

    If you ask me, i will tell you that i haven’t fully discovered my purpose, but I’ve gotten a glimpse of it. God is still showing me the direction to follow.

    Thanks for renewing my spirit ones again.

  • Dave Arnold

    Great post, Dan. I think Jonah is
    a great case study for leadership and God’s purpose. It’s interesting – and
    something that’s been a theme in my life – purpose is often discovered in
    difficulties and discomfort. This is obviously true for Jonah. When we feel
    hopeless and purposeless (as Jonah did) we tend to turn our eyes off of
    ourselves and our agenda, and unto God’s. That’s why I think God allows us to
    struggle and faces challenges… it’s when we get out of the way that God uses
    us the most.

    • Thank you Dave.I totally agree, God uses trials and discomfort to speak to us. Great points, thank you for sharing them.

  • Dan – really appreciate and enjoyed this post. I’m definitely trying to live God’s purpose in my own life. That’s why I went from the court room to now advocating for our vulnerable populations in our communities.

    A lot of us wonder what God’s purpose is for us? Sometimes, listening helps. haha yes, listening to God’s response as well as seeing the circumstances in our lives unfold. there are signs (Godwinks) that show up and help lead us to our purpose – we just need to be aware of them. And of course reflection and prayer always helps lead us on our divine path.

    To discover one’ purpose, people do need to check in with themselves but it’s a lot easier if they also check in with God.

    • Hello Vishnu,

      I can see how that would allow you to help and be better used. I like that term “Godwinks” :) Great points! Thank you for adding to the conversation.

      • Vishnu

        oh there’s a book written on Godwinks. you should check it out – about the signs God gives us in our lives.

  • Tim Bonner

    Hey Dan

    I’m not religious at all so I don’t feel that God has called me to any particular purpose.

    I’ve made my own path and if you’d asked me a few years ago, I’m sure I wouldn’t have said ‘stay at home dad’ would be the result!

    I love it though and I know the kids are benefiting from me being at home.

    In a few years time I’ll need to decide which path to take next but that’s still a while away at the moment.

    • Hello Tim,

      I’m glad you still checked out the post. It must be great being able to stay at home and spend all that time with your kids. In the future I want to be able to be self employed so I can spend more time with my family. I’m sure you will pick the right path in the future. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  • Hi Dan,

    This was a very interesting post and I agree we all have a purpose while we’re on Earth. I believe I have found my God given purpose, which is to help other people who experience fear, anxiety, and low self-confidence (as I did) to rise up and do what they can to overcome their problems and improve their lives.

    Thank you.

    • Hello Hiten,

      That’s a great calling bro! I think our purpose alines a lot with helping and adding value to others. They go hand in hand. Looking forward to seeing your continued success and impact.

  • DS

    Great story! Isn’t it funny how we flee? How our fears are so great in our minds? What a

    • DS

      Great way to see how stubborn we can be.

      • Yes, it sure is. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • Hey Dan, I’m not sure if I have discovered my given purpose yet but I’m pretty sure that building wordpress websites is not it.

    I think the glory may actually be in changing people’s lives through my knowledge and help but again, I’m not sure that is it either.

    However I have been enjoying the ride so far in discovering myself and realizing that I can have an impact on others be those friends, family members or even customers and clients and I’m always looking how to be the better version of myself.

    I think I’ll find my main purpose on Earth eventually though.

    Enjoyed the Jonah story, thanks!

    • Hello Sergio,

      Ha, at least you know what your purpose is not:) I think helping and adding value to others and our purpose are closely connected. a lasting purpose is one that impacts others. I think your on the right track when it comes to fully discovering your purpose. Keep it up! Glad you enjoyed the story:)

  • I believe our purpose is revealed over time. God will give us a glimpse of it, but the more we walk in that purpose, the more we find out how big it truly is. I thought my purpose was simply college ministry, but the more I embraced it, the more I began to see my purpose is bigger: young adult ministry, missions, creating resources, etc. he sooner we discover and embrace our purpose, the sooner we see just how big it truly is.

    • Hello Jason,

      I totally agree. God defiantly revels more as we walk in our purpose. It reminds me about the importance of being faithful in the small things so He knows we are able to handle more. Thank you for taking time to read and share:)

  • The main leadership principle we can learn – and I think it’s one of the main points of the story – is that we can’t run from what God has called us to do. It wasn’t just procrastination or delay – it was disobedience for Jonah.

    • So true Loren. We need to find and embrace when He has called us to do. Thank you for reading and sharing:)

  • What I love about Jonah is that God didn’t blast him when he was so obviously disobedient. He just kept correcting him and giving him opportunities to see the light! God does the same for me – gently keeps leading me the way He wants me to go. I’m thankful for that.

    • Amen! I’m glad God shows his grace and mercy too us. Thank you for sharing.