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Waiting Produces Leadership Growth By Marybeth Leavell

Learn How Waiting Produces Leadership Growth in You

The concept of stewardship is rooted in various psychological and sociological theories. Within the Christian stewardship research stream, the steward leader may act as a representative of the owners, directors, or stakeholders, but ultimately serves God, the owner of all. The leader’s internal motivation to be a person of integrity and ethical behavior grows through a deepening relationship with God. To strengthen the leader’s trust and faith in Him, God frequently uses waiting as his primary tool.

Waiting and Serving

The words, ‘waiter’ and ‘server’ are often used synonymously and the definitions of these two words are closely linked. A ‘waiter’ is a person whose job is to serve by waiting on others. A ‘server’ is one who works for, helps, renders obedience to, or gives homage to God, a sovereign, commander, etc.

When you go to a restaurant and sit down at a table, who comes to help you?  A waiter…or a server. The duties of a waiter or server can be tedious or challenging, but this person is vital to the success of the restaurant. Servers follow specific rules and guidelines. The head server (or steward) oversees the wait staff and ensures that duties are done properly. Is it possible that learning how to wait is essential to learning how to serve??

Biblical Leaders Who Waited

All the great leaders recorded in the Bible experienced times of waiting. Sometimes waiting lasted a few days, as when Jesus told the disciples to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Other times, it was years, as when Hannah prayed for a child. Sometimes, the waiting involved work and diligence, as with Noah building the ark, or Moses, leading the Hebrew people out of Egypt.

David is an example of a steward leader who waited. David waited 20 years between being anointed king and being crowned as king. During that time, God grew David in his maturity and ability to lead, so much so that Acts 13:22 says that David was a man after God’s own heart who would carry out His will. During the time that David waited, the people of Israel were also being prepared as a nation to follow him as king, rather than Saul. The Psalms are written evidence of David giving to glory to God and growing in His relationship of faith throughout his time of waiting.

Walking by Faith and Waiting

The role of leader, from the world’s perspective, demands action now. Take charge. Step out. Be decisive. But what if we don’t know what to do or how to do it? What if there are multiple options to choose from? What if there don’t seem to be any good options? Am I willing to wait for God to reveal His plan to me? Am I willing to obey and follow when He does? When we, as leaders, wait on God, we must reject our human tendency to walk by sight, rather than by faith (II Cor. 5:7). Abraham obeyed by faith when he was called to go out to the place that he would receive as an inheritance. Hebrews 11:8 says that “he went out, not knowing where he was going”. Now THAT is walking by faith!!

Waiting Results in Deeper Knowledge of God

In all these examples, God accomplished His purposes through making His servants wait. If He is truly the owner of everything, He knows what He wants to do with His stuff and His people! (1 Cor. 10:26). While we wait for His direction, we gain a deeper knowledge of God and His ways by actively seeking Him. Continue to ask until He gives clarity on the situation. Pay attention to how God is working and leading. Keep asking expectantly until He answers. Then do what He says.

Waiting Results in Growth in Faith

Through waiting, God prepares the leader to receive His will and to obey. While waiting, we learn that God is the one who is in control. No matter how much of a “control freak” we may be, there are many things that only God can do. When we don’t see the answer to our prayers, and we must wait longer, our best response it to continue to pray and trust His heart that what He says, He will do! This is when our trust and faith are tested most, and we grow in awareness that His timing and ways are best. We need to keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith! (Hebr. 12:2). As I surrender in obedience while I wait, my faith in Him grows.

The Result of Waiting

To sum up: we start out waiting. Then, while we wait, we become His servants. Then, when we realize that He owns it all, we die to self, and He entrusts us with time, talents, and treasure – we become His stewards. My leadership is no longer about me and what I can gain for myself. My leadership is as His steward to accomplish what He wants for His purposes.

And someday, as in Matthew 25:21, we will stand before Him and He will say “Well done, good and faithful servant, you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the Joy of the Lord”. He then calls us to be His joint heirs! How amazing!! We are born with nothing, and yet through Christ, we become co-owners of everything!!


Marybeth Leavell is the Adjunct Faculty Member at Columbia International University based in Columbia, South Carolina. She is an experienced educational Consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry.


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