1 Samuel 2:17
“Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD.”
The sons of Eli ruined the enjoyment of worshipping God for Israel. They ruined the enjoyment through their sinful practices of demanding people to give them of their sacrifice before the sacrifice was given. It was the custom of the priest to get a fleshhook and strike the pot that the sacrifice was in while it was seething and take the meat for themselves. The sons of Eli kept the people from being able to make this sacrifice because of their practice to steal the meat from the people before they could make the sacrifice.
Sadly, many have lost the joy of serving God because of self-willed leaders who have made the service of God about themselves. There are many believers who still go to church, but they don’t enjoy their time of serving the LORD because of leadership. Self-willed leadership always causes people to lose their dedication to the LORD. Self-willed leadership eventually causes people to stop serving the LORD, which leads them into sin. Every leader must be careful, whether you are a parent, pastor or some other spiritual leader, about creating a self-willed environment that causes people to lose their enjoyment of serving the LORD. Let me give you some thoughts of caution about self-willed leadership.
First, the purpose of leadership is to serve. Leadership should never be about the whims of the leader, but it should be about serving those whom you lead. Your whole purpose of leading others is to point them to Christ and to lead them in the ways of which they should walk. Leading people in the ways of which they should walk means that you are to walk in front of them and show them how to serve the LORD. If you lead to serve, you will find it impossible to make your position about yourself.
Second, demanding leadership always steals the joy from the follower. When I use the term “demanding leadership,” I am not saying that leaders shouldn’t lead with authority, but what I am saying is that leaders shouldn’t make it about their world. I have heard weak leaders say, “This is my world, and you will do what I tell you to do.” Let me remind you that it is never your world if you are serving the LORD, but it is God’s world and you are simply to lead people into serving the LORD. Leadership is not about you getting your way, but leadership is leading people into God’s way. Leadership is not about your likes and dislikes, but leadership is about God’s likes and dislikes. You will destroy a believer’s spirit if you turn everything into “your world.”
Third, self-willed leadership eventually leads to the leader’s demise. Self-willed leadership thinks that nobody can tell them what to do. My friend, you must always remember that God is bigger than you, and He will tell you what to do by humbling you if you get the mindset that you can do what you want to do. Leadership is not a license to do what it wants to do, but it is a divine commission to submit to God’s desires and lead accordingly.
Let me close by saying that you must ask God to help turn the heart of your leader if you find yourself under a self-willed leader. God can either change the heart or remove the leader, and that can only happen if you pray for them. It’s not right for you to sin just because you have a self-willed leader. Do right in spite of the leader and God will bless you.