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Stubborn Leaders

The Psalms speak of some in that period of history whose spirit was “stubborn and rebellious” (Psalm 78:8). After eons of time, stubbornness is still with us. Some actual view it as an attribute. I know of two elected officials who recently boasted of their stubbornness. Perhaps they’ve never analyzed the word ‘stubbornness.’ Webster says a stubborn person is “set on having his way; not willing to give in; obstinate; hard to deal with.” This definition doesn’t sound like a stubborn person has the attributes needed to exert real leadership.

When one makes the claim of stubbornness, he is admitting he is kin to a mule. “Be ye not as the … mule” (Psalm 32:9), wrote David. The writer’s point is that the mule is stubborn, and this is an unworthy characteristic for a human being. So when one boasts of being stubborn, he is embracing the mule or donkey as his brother. David advises us not to be like the mule, stubborn. The mule has a nature, which makes it refuse to move. Our Creator doesn’t want to handle us like dumb beasts. We aren’t supposed to have a willful nature.

Furthermore, for one to claim stubbornness is to admit the inability or unwillingness to sit down with another person or a group and reach a decision, or decisions, that will benefit all, not just some mule-headed, jack-legged leader. So you want to be a leader? Then shed your stubbornness.

I heard of a church once, which was hotly debating whether to buy a chandelier for a foyer. A business meeting was called to discuss the matter. A good, old brother, who came in late, stood and said, “I’m agin’st buying a chandelier for three reasons: (1) We ain’t got the money, (2) Nobody in the church can play one, and (3) What we really need is more light for this lobby.”

What one really needs to be an effective leader is more knowledge (light), and less stubbornness.