“You’re in-putting data all wrong. Let me show you how I’m doing it.” The co-worker interrupted and shoved his way into the conversation. My friend bristled at yet one more attack, closed his eyes and took a cleansing breath.
The co-worker’s reputation preceded him. Laid off during the recession, he hungered to be back on top. He proclaimed himself “team lead” and devoured anyone who stood in his way. It wasn’t the first time he tried to discredit fellow associates who might compete against him moving up the ladder. Their manager, centered on his own problems and buried under a heavy workload, offered no rescue. He let the attacks go unchecked.
Ezekiel denounced these behaviors. He prophesied against the king and leaders of his time, all of whom neglected their responsibilities, acted selfishly and exploited those under their charge. Ezekiel, speaking for God, called them practice servant-hearted leadership. To minister to those under their influence and stand firm against unrighteousness behavior.
My friend prayed for courage to hold his ground without retaliation or compromise to doing what was right. His answer came from an unexpected source one month later.
Another business unit manager approached my friend in search of someone to fill an open position within his group. As the manager outlined the responsibilities, he stopped mid-sentence. “Hey, you wanna do it? You’re perfect for this job. Let’s talk with your manager right now.”
My friend stepped into a new role within the company. One that offered more visibility and upward mobility. One that reported to a servant-hearted manager who developed his people, ran interference for them and shaped an environment where team members helped each other.
In time, God removes the selfish and destructive leaders from power over His faithful. He rescues us from oppression and exploitation. He did it for the Israelites, He did it for my friend, and He’s done it for me. God comes through like the cavalry. Absent justice, I’ve learned to hang onto Ezekiel’s words,
“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock…I myself will look after them…I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down,…I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice” (Ezekiel 34:10-11, 15-16).
Ezekiel’s warning also begs me to ponder from another angle, “How do I measure up as a leader? In my family, at work, with friends, or in my community?”