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When we get to Genesis 43:11-14, however, we see an altogether different Jacob. He is leading strategically, willing to put his own needs on the back burner for the sake of his family. What accounts for this change in Jacob’s leadership?
Today, we continue in the series, “When Leadership is Deeply Personal.” Last week, we examined the example of Joseph, who did allow his strong emotions to influence his decision-making in the wrong direction. But, we saw how, through the passage of time and the influence of Joseph’s faith, he corrected his course. In the first two devotions of this week we began to consider the case of Jacob, Joseph’s father. We saw how his strong leadership of his sons may well have contributed to Jacob’s frustration with their lack of leadership. In today’s devotion, we’ll see how Jacob focused so much on himself that he neglected the needs of those entrusted to his care.
In yesterday’s Life for Leaders devotion, we began focusing on Jacob, Joseph’s father, and his leadership of his family. We saw that Jacob, as the patriarch of his family, was a strong, authoritative leader. Yet, we also saw Jacob’s frustration with his ten sons who kept “looking at one another” rather than taking action to deal with the possible starvation of the family owing to famine (42:1). They did not take the initiative as leaders, but chose instead to wait for their father’s instruction. Reflecting on Jacob’s example, I suggested that sometimes a strong, influential leader can actually inhibit the growth and health of the organization he or she leads.
In last week’s Life for Leaders devotions, we considered what happens when leadership is deeply personal, using the example of Joseph in Genesis 42.
This week, I’d like to consider another example of leadership in Genesis 42. Now we’ll look at Joseph’s father, Jacob, and his leadership of his family.
This week, the example of Joseph in Genesis 42 has encouraged us to think about our leadership when it is deeply personal, especially when our emotions are stirred up. We have seen how Joseph reacted when encountering his brothers for the first time in decades. His strong emotions led him to treat his brothers more harshly than he would have in ordinary circumstances, deciding to throw all but one of them in prison until Benjamin, their youngest brother, was brought to Egypt. As we saw in yesterday’s devotion, the passing of time enabled Joseph to rethink his decision and choose a wiser, more compassionate course. I suggested that we need to imitate Joseph’s example, especially because so many of us are rushing our decisions owing to the high-pressured demands of leadership.
So far this week, we have been considering Joseph’s example of deeply personal leadership as seen in Genesis 42. (You can find the first devotions of this series here.) Yesterday, we saw that Joseph had the clarity of mind and courage to change a poor decision he had made when his emotions were running high. His example inspires us. But it also makes us ask: Why? Why did Joseph change his mind? What enabled him to reverse course, leaving a poor decision behind in order to pursue a better path?
In this week’s Life for Leaders devotions (Monday, Tuesday), we have been reflecting on what happens when our leadership is deeply personal. The example of Joseph in Genesis 42 offers a salient example for our reflection.
In yesterday’s Life for Leader devotion, I began to reflect with you on what happens when leadership is deeply personal. Sometimes, of course, we lead mostly as a matter of thinking or habit (both of which are personal in way, of course). Sometimes we lead simply because that’s what’s expected of us and we’re doing our job. But there are other times when our leadership involves all that we are, including our deeply personal beliefs, feelings, hurts, hopes, dreams, and fears.
We lead, not just because we have a task to do or a people to lead, and not just to bring home a paycheck, but also because we care about the mission and the people entrusted to us. We lead, not just by using our minds, but also through the engagement of our hearts.
Today is the last of three devotions that respond to the question: How does Ash Wednesday relate to our work? Though the official recognition of Ash Wednesday happened two days ago, the fact of our mortality – the central meaning of the holiday – remains. We may not have ashes on our foreheads today, but we are still made from dust, and to dust we will return.
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