6 Portraits of a Godly Leader (Part 2 of 2)

spiritual leadership

In Part 1 of my post, I described three portraits apostle Paul uses to depict a godly leader: a teacher, soldier, and athlete. I’ll conclude this series with three more metaphors that describe a godly, God-fearing leader. I hope these six portraits of godly leadership will help you

4. Farmer

“It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.” (2 Timothy 2:6)

The imagery of a farmer visualizes what godly leadership is all about. Changing the hearts and soul of people requires hard work to the point of exhaustion and weariness. Farming essentially is an unglorious hard work. Digging in the dirt a lot. The hard workers ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops. This is important and necessary to survive and keep being a farmer. Before a leader can produce food for others through his influence and teaching, he has to first have his own soul nourished in the doing. Before he can give food to anybody else he has to have some for himself. A leader that can’t lead himself can’t expect others to believe in him to lead them. As godly leaders, it’s important to invest in your personal time with God in His Word.

What is also unique about farming is that he has to be patient for the crop to comin in. A painter paints and when he’s done painting the painting is done. A builder builds and when the building is done it’s done. A car mechanic fixes a car and when it’s fixed, it’s fixed. But a farmer plants and waits and operates by faith. Godly leaders likewise don’t get instant gratification in our ministry. It takes a long time. You have to be patient with disappointments, failures and such.

5. Vessel

“Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” (2 Timothy 2:20-21) 

Paul’s next picture of a leader is the image of a vessel, some sort of a pot, a pan, some kind of utensil. In a great house you have two kinds of utensils here – the gold and silver vessels would be the ones that were used for eating, that were brought into the dining room on which the food was served. But then there were vessels of wood and earthenware. These were used not just for common uses, but also dishonorable uses – such as utensils for the waste, the garbage, the filth of the house. They were made of wood and clay.

The key verb here is “cleanses.” We must be sanctified, pure his own personal life as leaders and set apart form heresy and false teachings, clean, useful to our Master. God is not going to carry the pure gospel in a garbage pail. He’ll carry it in a clean clay pot. That’s why apostle Paul has beaten his body into submission.

6. Slave

“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil.” (2 Timothy 2:24)

The last imagery used here by apostle Paul is one of a slave – a bond servant. There is one word that is used more than any of these to describe our identity as Christians: duolos which in Greek means slave, but we have mistranslated in the English Bible as servant. In fact, the word duolos appears 124 times in the Bible. We must realize as godly leaders we are not the masters of our selves or captain of our ship. We were once slaves of Satan, but bought with the holy blood of Christ. This will help us capture the radical nature of our relationship with our Master Christ Jesus our Lord. As godly leaders, it’s important to are serving others not for our own glory but to direct all our attention to Christ who is our Master.


MacAthur, John, Portrait of a Leader.  http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/80-156/portrait-of-a-leader