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Usefulness is Better than Greatness

by Ken Barnes  
5/17/2019 / Christian Living

Once upon a time the trees decided to choose a king.  First they said to the olive tree,‘Be our king!’  But the olive tree refused, saying, ‘Should I quit producing the olive oil that blesses both God and people, just to wave back and forth over the trees?’ (Judges 9:8 NLT)

Pursuing leadership is a good thing if you are doing it for the right reason.  If you seek to be great, you will never be useful.  If you strive to be useful, God can make you great.

The story unfolds as Abimelech, Gideon’s son, through his cunning, becomes King.  His first act as King is to kill all of his seventy half-brothers except one, Jotham.  Jotham tells an interesting parable (Judges 9:7-16 NLT).  The trees decided to choose a King.  It was offered to valuable trees like the olive, the fig, and the grapevine. They all wanted to serve rather than to assume control, to do good rather than rule.  Yet, when the same suggestion was made to the thornbush, it was accepted with glee.  Someone once said that if you find a person looking for authority, give them responsibility.  If you find a person seeking responsibility, give them authority.

We should never seek leadership for the fame, fortune, or power that comes with it.  These things may become necessary by-products of your position, but should never be the reasons we seek authority.  Position yourself to serve, and if God has gifted you with leadership skills, watch God nurture your abilities and make then evident to others.

Those who are faithful in little things will be faithful in much.  You can be useful before you are great, but you can never be great before you are useful.

I worked for seventeen years as a missionary with Youth With A Mission. My missionary work has taken me to Mexico, Canada, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Spain, and the Ukraine.I hold a Masters of Education in curriculum and instruction from Virginia Commonwealth University. [email protected]

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