There are only two kinds of leaders.
There are those who view their leadership position as an opportunity to take as much as they possible can from the organization. I call them the takers.
The other kind of leader views their leadership position as an opportunity to give to the organization. I call them the givers.
Givers and Takers. As a leader it all boils down to, are you a giver or a taker?
The takers take things like the big office, the title, the salary, and the extra perks. They believe organization owes them these things because of who they are.
The givers look to see what they can give to the organization. They look for ways to serve the organization. They care less about themselves and more about the organization.
On the very top of my takers list of Biblical leaders are Judas and Herod the Great.
Judas was an apostle of Jesus. He was called to be one of the top 12 leaders to take the Gospel to the world. But what was he worried about? Judas was stealing some money out of the money bag when he saw fit, and then complaining when a woman anointed the Lord with perfume.
He hoped Jesus would crush the Romans, and establish Himself as king. Then, being in the inner circle, he would score a nice plush job, with a big office in the temple. Knowing his fondness for money he probably had his eye on the job of Secretary of the Treasury. He was in it for what he could get; money, power, and position.
Taker: Herod the Great
It is said that it was safer to be a dog in Herod’s palace than one of his family members. Herod had most of his wives and even his own children killed because he saw them as questioning his authority or a threat to his rule. Of course Herod was also the king who heard about a baby born in Bethlehem who would be king, so he ordered all the babies in Bethlehem under two years old killed. Herod loved to tax the Jewish people to fund his lifestyle and his personal building projects. All Herod wanted to do was hang on to the money, power, and position he already had.
There are quite a few Biblical leaders who were givers. Aside from the obvious choice of Jesus, one of my top picks for a giving leader is Barnabas.
Barnabas was a Levite from the island of Cyprus who converted to Christianity early on. Barnabas’ first act of service to the young Christian church was when he sold some land he had and gave the entire amount to the apostles to distribute as they saw fit.
Later, when a new convert to Christianity named Paul wanted to work with the disciples in Jerusalem, it was Barnabas who stood up for Paul, introducing him to the disciples, and vouching for him.
Barnabas saw a need and helped to meet the need out of his own resources.
He saw a young man named Paul and believed in him. He helped Paul establish himself as a preacher of the Gospel.
Some time later Paul and Barnabas were working hard in the mission field with a young man named Mark. Mark was younger and less experienced. Rather than continuing on with Paul, the star of the mission field, Barnabas took Mark under his wing and mentored him.
Barnabas saw something special in Paul and Mark. He cared not for his own status, but was a giver who was only concerned with doing everything he could to further the Christian church.
The End Result is Relationships
The kind of leader you are, whether a giver or taker, will have a bearing on the kind of relationships you build with those you lead.
Judas sold out the movement and ended up killing himself all because he didn’t get what he wanted.
Herod ruled through fear and intimidation. Paranoia was the guiding light to his leadership style.
Barnabas, on the other hand, was a generous and supportive leader. He was not afraid to stand up for what he thought was right. He cared little for his own position and more about equipping the fledgling organization to take the Gospel to the world. Barnabas’ name means “Son of Encouragement” and it is easy to see why.
Join the Conversation
As always questions and comments are welcome. What kind of a leader are you? Are you a giver or a taker? What kind of leaders have you worked for – givers or takers? Which did you want to work for?
Category: Relationship | Servant Leadership