The Gift of Leadership

1738Paul wrote, “The one who leads, with zeal” (Rom. 12:8).

The story is told of a terrible traffic accident. Police officers were called to the scene and when they arrived they found a husband, wife, and two children lying unconscious in the car. They pulled them from the car, and as they waited for the paramedics to arrive they noticed a monkey in the car also. Seeing that the monkey was the only witness to the accident who was conscious, the officers decided to question him about the accident.

Turning to the monkey they asked, “What was the dad doing at the time of the accident?” The monkey motioned, indicating that the dad had been drinking.

The officers next asked what the mother had been doing at the time of the accident. The monkey took his finger and shook it angrily at the unconscious man.

The officers then asked what the children had been doing. The monkey this time indicated by hand gestures that the children had been fighting in the back seat.

The officers said, “Well, no wonder there was an accident with all of that going on in the car.”

As they turned to leave, almost as a parting thought they asked, “By the way, what were you doing at the time of the accident?”

To which the monkey signed that he had been the one driving.[1]

The ESV footnote for “leads” reads, “Or gives aid.” The verb “leads” is  from the Greek proistemi, which has two meanings. First, it can mean “be at the head (of), rule direct w. gen. 1 Ti 3:4f, 12; 5:17. Perh. Ro 12:8; 1 Th 5:12.” (Gingrich) Second, it can also mean be concerned about, care for, give aid perh. Ro 12:8; 1 Th 5:12.” (Gingrich) Thus, the gift of leadership can be defined as leading with caring. The gift of leadership is leadership with relationship. It is relational leadership.

Paul uses the same word proistemi for leaders in the church. “He must manage [proestimi] his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive” (1 Tim. 3:4). “Let the elders who rule [proistemi] well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching” (1 Tim. 5:17).

Paul wrote, “the one who leads, with zeal” (Rom. 12:8). The noun “zeal” is from spoude—“eagerness, enthusiasm, diligence, zeal.” (Gingrich) It means “to be eager to do something, with the implication of readiness to expend energy and effort—‘to be eager, eagerness, devotion.’” (Louw-Nida) “Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager [spoude] to do” (Gal. 2:10). The gift of leading is the ability to lead people in the body of Christ with eagerness, enthusiasm, and diligence.

Do you have the gift of leading? Exercise this gift with eagerness and diligence. This is how you do your part in the body of Christ.

[1] Gene Gregory, “The Officers in the Church,” Cited November 29, 2016. Online:


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