To those who currently lead in any area of ministry, government, company, etc. - may this offer you some encouragement and maybe a bit of a challenge, as well.
David led a group of people. One day this group came home to find their wives, children and belongings taken. Of course, David joined them in weeping over what had happened, but soon some of the people began to talk about stoning him. Him! Why him?
They needed someone to blame for the bitterness they felt, and the natural human reaction seems to be to turn our eyes to the leader. For better or worse. It is a very familiar Scripture that tells us what David did in response to the situation. He encouraged himself in the Lord. Now that is leadership.
So what does this have to do with encouraging the leaders out there? There will be times when there are uncontrollable circumstances in your circle of influence, and you receive the blame for all of it. There will be times when you make a right decision, yet it isn't what those around you want. There will be times when you make the wrong decision, and you will have to recover in front of all the eyes that are on you. Being the leader often means being alone. So, here is your encouragement - encourage yourself.
That sounds harsh, and I'm sorry. But in all honesty, I see a true leader in the Word as one who cannot depend on those he/she is leading to build them up consistently. To whom much is given, much is required. You must depend on the Lord alone, and you are responsible for encouraging yourself in Him. I remember speaking with someone who stood beside me in leading worship concerning this subject. They wished that eyes were not on them, so that it could just be between them and the Lord. I understand that completely, but I shared with them as I have had to learn that being on the stage and "leading" others into the secret place of the Lord requires having that alone time with Him on our own. We cannot wait until time for church to press through ourselves. A leader goes before and must be going the direction in which he is leading others.
Encourage yourself in the Lord, not in your own ability. Those who follow you need to see the One you are following. And by the way, as David sought the Lord he recovered all from the enemy. There is victory in leading God's way.
Father, we may not all be in a "leadership" position, but may we all lead others to You. May we all learn how to encourage ourselves in You and find that following You causes others to walk that direction, as well. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
1 Samuel 30