I want to take some time and talk leadership. I want you to take a few moments and read these verses form 2nd Samuel 15 – 1 Now it came about after this that Absalom provided for himself a chariot and horses and fifty men as runners before him. 2 Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way to the gate; and when any man had a suit to come to the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, "From what city are you?" And he would say, "Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel." 3 Then Absalom would say to him, "See, your claims are good and right, but no man listens to you on the part of the king." 4 Moreover, Absalom would say, "Oh that one would appoint me judge in the land, then every man who has any suit or cause could come to me and I would give him justice." 5 And when a man came near to prostrate himself before him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. 6 In this manner Absalom dealt with all Israel who came to the king for judgment; so Absalom stole away the hearts of the men of Israel.
These verses can hardly be summed up better than to say that Absalom became a politician. He spent time among the people, promising them that he would give them what they wanted, if he were only king. He endeared others to himself by giving the appearance that he was a humble servant of the people and not an arrogant king who had no time for the little people. The people loved it; they loved him. With that Absalom managed to turn the hearts of the people away from David to himself but he did it through manipulation and not through leadership.
Absalom stole the hearts of the people. Absalom’s cunning campaign worked. He became more popular and more trusted than David.
So how does he do it?
Let us take a moment and look at how Absalom does manipulated the people and how we as leaders should lead:
· Absalom carefully cultivated an exciting, enticing image with is chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. Manipulators know how to put on a show and make things look great. Leaders just do what God calls them to do – no show needed. Manipulators are great at making a scene and leaders lead.
· Absalom worked hard by getting up early each day – manipulation is hard work and manipulators many times are hard workers – just they are not working hard for the right reasons. They are working hard for their own ways and not Gods. Leaders work for God’s ways – not their own.
· Absalom knew where to position himself which was beside the way to the gate which is where everyone would be coming and going. Manipulators know where they will get the biggest audience and who will listen to them. Leaders lead and do not worry about the audience because if they are leading in God’s ways people will follow.
· Absalom looked for troubled people or anyone who had a lawsuit and He reached out to troubled people and they would hear Absalom call to them. Manipulators know what people to go after – troubled one – Manipulators many times are complainers and they find fellow complainers and they know how to get them to follow their ways. Leaders present the vision God has given and move forward – nothing else is needed when God is the center of it.
· Absalom took a personal interest in the troubled people by asking questions like what city are you from? Manipulators know how to get people on board – they have people skills – but you learn when you are taken in by them that they are not people you want to be around for very long. Leaders allow God to put people on board and the lead with integrity, grace, and humility.
· Absalom sympathized with the person by telling them your case is good and right one – you have a strong case here. Manipulators tell people what they want to hear but leaders tell people what they need to hear – two totally different things. Leaders tell people what they need to hear not what they want to hear. A hard thing in leadership is telling people what they need to hear but it has to be done – sometimes it cost leaders their jobs.
· Absalom never attacked David directly but would say that there was no one to hear you and he left the troubled person more troubled by having them thinking that no one was there to hear them. Manipulators make sure that they create a need for themselves while leaders create a need for God.
· Without directly attacking David, Absalom promised to do better by saying Oh, that I were made judge in the land, and everyone who has any suit or cause would come to me; then I would give him justice. Manipulators make themselves the answer to the problems and leaders make God the answer to the problems. Manipulators say if people would just do it my way – Leaders say we need to be doing it God’s way.
Do you see anything else here that needs to be mentioned here with manipulators or leaders?
Who is the best leader you have been able to be lead by and what makes/made them such a good leader?