Yesterday, Sunday, we celebrated Rhonda’s birthday. In the two-plus decades we’ve been married, she’s never looked happier or more beautiful! We went to church and the sermon focused on the Book of Judges and contrasted the leadership style of Jesus’ and Abhimelch, who was one of the most notorious figures in the entire Old Testament. It was a powerful message, brilliantly delivered by Pastor Shawn Thornton.
One of my favorite stories from the Book of Judges with lessons we can apply in business is the story of Gideon. He had rounded up 32,000 soldiers to fight against a Midianite army with far superior numbers. God, concerned that Israel would take credit for the victory He planned to give them rather than give glory to Him, instructed Gideon with these words: “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘my own hand has saved me.’ Now therefore, proclaim in the hearing of the people saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and afraid let him turn and depart at once from Mount Gilead.’” And twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained. Judges 7: 2-3.
In, How to Lead by THE BOOK, I’m going to outline specific character traits essential for success. I’ll highlight one, in particular, that causes you to rise into a league of your own. While competence is very important, character is more so. This is because you can teach skills and knowledge, but you can’t teach character. How does this focus on character relate to what God told Gideon? Notice what God did not say:
1. Send home the incompetent.
2. Send home the inexperienced.
3. Send home the uneducated.
No, He said to send home those who lacked courage, the fearful, the afraid, those lacking heart and without the stomach for a fight. Notice also when He ordered them to leave: “let him turn and depart at once.” God didn’t want Gideon burdened for a moment longer than necessary by those who were negative, who would talk in terms of defeat, and lower the morale of the team overall. Can you see the applicability for your own business? Put a higher priority on the “heart” issues that you cannot put into someone, and then teach them the skills and knowledge they need to channel the heart into productive endeavors.
Incidentally, God continued to whittle away at Gideon’s army until it was reduced to just 300! With those 300, God lead Gideon into battle and defeated an enemy army estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands. The lessons: quality prevailed over quantity and God plus His chosen few equals victory over an immoral majority.