As I conclude this series on the importance of sacrifice in leadership, I would be remiss to not include a few thoughts about God's call to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.
In Genesis 22 we read about Abraham's love for Isaac and God's call for the boy to be sacrificed.
In verse 2 God said, "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love ..."
God clearly demonstrates to Abraham that He fully understands Abraham's love for Isaac. God made it clear He understood how difficult it would be for Abraham to sacrifice his miracle son. The love of Abraham for Isaac must have been greater than any words could describe.
Yet God commanded, "go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will tell you." Abraham understood the significance of the offering and the great pain that would come from the loss. Yet, Abraham prepared to obey the command of God.
Every moment of wood gathering and preparation must have been filled with questions about how he could tell Sarah about the loss of her son. How could she ever understand?
Abraham prepared the altar of sacrifice with a broken spirit. Abraham didn't argue with God. We see no evidence of begging or questioning the directions. Abraham apparently did not appeal to God in any way. To do so would have been haughty or selfish. Abraham insured that his heart "could not be despised" (see Ps. 51:17).
In the moment of this decision, we clearly see a model leader. Surely, Abraham wanted to please the Lord, but wouldn't Abraham also be considering another path? Leaders are constantly presented with opportunities to take an easy way out.
Unwavering love for God is better than all sacrifices or any external form of worship. So we conclude that to love those who follow us, as we would love ourselves, is better than any sacrifice that must be made.
Leaders die to self.
"To love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices" (Mark 12:33).
Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.
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