By Rob Hogendoorn Lead Pastor Forest City Church London Ontario
One of my favorite leadership moments from the Old Testament is the obscure and often overlooked story of David found in 2 Samuel 5:4-8.
David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years. The king and his men marched to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites, who lived there. The Jebusites said to David, “You will not get in here; even the blind and the lame can ward you off.” They thought, “David cannot get in here.” Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion—which is the City of David. On that day David had said, “Anyone who conquers the Jebusites will have to use the water shaft to reach those ‘lame and blind’ who are David’s enemies.
Beyond David’s fascinating return trash talking with his enemies (trash talking is obviously not a new invention!), these moments from David’s life show 2 indispensable leadership qualities: Creativity and Persistence.
Ancient Jerusalem was a city that was so secure and impregnable that it couldn’t be conquered with any conventional strategy. So David’s approach is to use an unconventional strategy that was not in anyone’s playbook. Use the water shaft to pierce the seemingly impregnable fortress. David’s creativity was a game changer.
None of us, I’m fairly certain, have conquering a city as an immediate goal. But I’m sure most of us regularly find ourselves in leadership and life hitting big walls we can’t get through. Some of us are stuck in a boring, getting-more-stale by the year marriage that is crying out for the creativity of new dating, communicating and affection patterns. Some of us have hit a wall in our career or ministry setting. We’re just kind of treading water and everyone around us knows it. What we desperately need is a dose of creativity. Some of us are in a spiritual rut and our love for God, trust in Jesus and growth as a Jesus follower is at a standstill. Sometimes what we really need is a jolt of creativity. Take a personal three day spiritual retreat, have some prayer and quiet time in a different time and place, do an intensive Bible saturation reading program.
Creativity. This was part of David’s leadership genius. The other part of the “man after God’s own heart” that allowed him to excel in leadership was plain old-fashioned persistence. David’s forty years of leadership was filled with as many setbacks and mistakes as this early brilliant moment of leadership creativity.
Parenting mistakes, adultery mistakes, lies, miscalculations, and naïve trust in untrustworthy personalities are all part of David’s leadership legacy. Many of David’s leadership low lights were overcome by sheer tenacity. It may have been his own son who penned the famous insight:
For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again. Proverbs 24:16
Albert Einstein, easily one of the most brilliant and creative people who ever lived, once said,
“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
He may have understated his intelligence, but he does so to make a point: For more than any other reason, he was successful in creating new solutions and ways of understanding things because he was persistent.
We serve a God who is, by nature, creative. His Son, Jesus, the “son of David” embodies persistence in seeing the Father’s will be done. May we, as children of this God and followers of this Savior, more often confront the impossible leadership moments in our lives with inspired creativity and persistence!