Today’s Scripture: Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17

There are times when I’ve stood in the pulpit weary and worn from the battle. Someone had said something negative and someone else had repeated it. Before you knew it, other people were believing things that weren’t true. I felt as though darts had been thrown at me from the front while swords slashed my back. My spirit was low, and I wondered how I was going to make it through the sermon with this great burden. I prayed for strength to get through the message.

I knew what I must do before preaching. I must share the load I carried. My father taught me to be open, and it is a lesson on leadership I never forgot.

I would tell the people how I felt and what was going on. I would leave out anything confidential, but I would share. I would ask for prayer for me to be able to continue with the message.

Every single time, God gave me the strength to continue. The prayers of the people of God, combined with their empathy, and with the strength of the Holy Spirit, united with my own helplessness, would make the difference.

God would use my words those days in ways I would never have thought possible. That is the beauty of leadership. It isn’t about what you do, what you say, how you manage a situation, how you handle a complaint about the color of the carpet or something more serious like someone living in sin; in the end, it is about leaning fully on the greatest Leader of all. The One Who has all strength and all wisdom and all energy. It’s about being honest with the people God has entrusted to you. It’s about seeking advice and counsel when you don’t know what to do or what direction to go. It’s about keeping on when the going gets tough.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder