“This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him.”
Great leaders often are discovered because they prepared themselves for the situation that discovers them well before they became the great leader. In sports, the great players may put their talent on display during the games they play, but their leadership is honed in the hours of practice that nobody sees. Most people want to be the leader because of what they see on the stage, but few people will ever want to be a leader because of how they see a great leader prepare. However, it is what an individual pours into their life when nobody is watching that determines whether or not they will become a great leader.
Ezra was one of the great leaders in the Scriptures. Ezra led Israel to rebuild the temple in a time when everyone thought it would be impossible for it to be rebuilt. When others only longed for the temple to be rebuilt, he took action for it to be rebuilt. Was it easy to rebuild the temple? Was there no opposition to rebuilding the temple? No! Ezra faced opposition and obstacles, but he led an army of people to rebuild a temple that had laid in ruins for years. Let me show you the ingredients of a great leader from Ezra’s life.
First, a great leader is prepared before the time they must lead. It says in the verse above that Ezra was a “ready scribe.” In other words, he prepared himself well before the time he was to lead. If you can’t prepare yourself when nobody is watching, you will never become a great leader. Many great leaders spend times preparing in the early hours while others sleep. You’ll never become a great leader in God’s army if you don’t have the character to prepare in the alone times of life.
Second, a great leader is a self-igniter. In other words, a great leader doesn’t need others to encourage them to do things, but they have the initiative to do things without being told to do them. Nobody had to tell Ezra to go and rebuild the temple, but he went on his own initiative. You must learn how to motivate yourself to do what you are supposed to do if you want the LORD to use you to do a great work for Him.
Third, a great leader has a heart to seek God. In verse 10, Ezra “prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD.” Nobody can make you seek the LORD, but you must choose to seek the LORD. The heart of a great leader will always be a heart that wants to know what the LORD would want them to do. A great leader spends countless hours alone in God’s Word and prayer seeking His mind on what steps they should take next.
Fourth, a great leader is a doer. Ezra didn’t just have a heart to do right, but he did right. Great leaders are discovered because they were doing what they were supposed to do when they were discovered. You cannot lead by sitting and waiting for a position to lead; rather, your leadership is discovered when you are doing what you are supposed to be doing.
Fifth, a great leader has a heart to teach others. Ezra wanted to teach others what to do. Great leaders don’t lead for themselves, but they lead to teach others what to do. When you have a heart to help others is when the LORD can use you to lead His people in the right way.