This year we celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee! The seven decades of service on the part of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II draw our attention to the traditional concept of monarchy in the UK. Monarchy is considered a calling from God. The Queen is crowned in an abbey, not in a government building. An archbishop puts the crown on her head, not a minister or public servant. In other words, the Queen is anointed, not appointed.
Anointed over appointed
The parallels to the biblical practice of anointing are evident. Throughout Scripture, the Lord authorises a prophet or a priest to anoint a person for a particular leadership role. God called the prophet Samuel to anoint King Saul (1 Samuel 10:1); He instructed Samuel to anoint King David (1 Samuel 16:12-13). Notwithstanding the different circumstances, the principle remains the same: the Lord chooses the king, not the people. Anointed over appointed.
Purpose over paycheck
Scripture also testifies how God calls leaders, be they prophets, judges, or kings, for a specific holy purpose, not merely to enjoy a position of power. If we look at virtually every leader in the Bible called into service, we can see that the divine calling did not primarily entail power or prestige, riches or regalia, appreciation, or applause. The emotional psalms of King David show that a purpose-driven life was far from easy. On many occasions, his very existence was in danger, not only from enemy nations but also from domestic insurrections or even in-house coups. What kept David focused was the sense of purpose of being the Lord’s anointed rather than him being appointed to a position of privilege.
A leader who accepts the divine call signs up for a challenging and dangerous journey. After all, God’s purpose must take precedence over the privilege to lead. Purpose over paycheck.
Conscience over comfort
“Hold fast, stay true” is an old sailing rule. When facing a storm, sailors had to “hold fast” to grab on to something to prevent being swept overboard; “stay true” was meant for helmsmen not to lose course, even if they could not see stars or landmarks. “Hold fast, stay true” for a biblical leader meant standing up for his conviction, and following his purpose despite adversity. When King Balak of Moab offered Balaam money to curse Israel (Numbers 22–24), Balaam said, “I have come to you now, but do I have power to say just anything? The word God puts in my mouth, that is what I must say.”
Martin Luther was one of the leaders called by God who held fast and stayed true. When he was urged to recant his 95 theses, he refused, even as he faced the threat of being burned at the stake. “My conscience is captive to the Word of God”, he said, “thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one’s conscience is neither safe nor sound. Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me.” (Brecht, 1:460). Luther chose his conscience over his comfort.
Being a leader is often considered the ultimate goal. Some executive and managerial positions are usually associated with a sizable pay cheque and a life of comfort. However, a leader anointed by God and called to a life of purpose, unequivocally obeys their conscience, guided by the Holy Spirit. Conscience over comfort.
Food for thought
We are all leaders: if we choose to be appointed, with privilege and comfort over conscience, sooner or later, our lives will be devoid of a sense of value, meaning and destiny. Today, be the leader God intended you to be and choose better: choose to be anointed with purpose and a conscience. Allow the Holy Spirit to shape you as a leader in His service.
Dr Beatrice Kastrati is the Health Director for the North England Conference, UK