Bringing Lasting Change to Broken Lives

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Bringing Lasting Change to Broken Lives

An Unexpected Leader

June 6th, 2015 · No Comments · Leadership

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When you think of the Bible’s great leaders, you probably think of kings, prophets, apostles and the like… but how about a prostitute? A closer look at Joshua 2 reveals that Rahab, a prostitute whose house was inside Jericho’s immensely thick walls, was a pretty astute leader.

Still skeptical? Let’s dive in: there are 3 important lessons that Rahab can teach us as leaders in God’s Kingdom!

First of all, verses 1-5 tell us how Rahab favored God’s people, turning her back on her own… even lying to her king to save the Israelite spies. Leadership always comes down to decision-making, and the greatest leaders get the toughest decisions right, consistently. Great leaders always emerge in moments of crisis, and Rahab was no exception. From her brief encounter with the Israelite spies and then with the king’s guard, we learn the importance of priorities. It is imperative for leaders to keep “the main thing”, the main thing. Rahab gave greater value to a new, spiritual family that she wanted to be a part of, than to her birth family and people. She prioritized eternity over temporal expediency, and as leaders we must learn to do the same.

Second, Rahab was able to strike a delicate balance between strategic planning and flat-out improvisation. Verses 6-14 of Joshua chapter 2 show Rahab one minute taking calculated risks according to careful planning, while the next minute she made things up on the fly. Here we see the importance of formulating a game plan before delving off into a given project, and at the same time the utter necessity of tweaking said plan on the run. Through this balance of planning and improvisation, Rahab managed to save her own life as well of those of her family during the impending Israelite invasion. Generally speaking, leaders fall into one of two categories: they are either careful planners, or deft improvisers. Rahab, however, was both!

Lastly, in verses 15-23, Rahab shows us the vital role that listening plays in influencing others. I don’t know how many of you are skilled at mountain climbing, but the idea of rappelling down the outside of a 2-story building gives me the willies! However, at the behest of Rahab, that is exactly what the two spies did—no questions asked! On top of that they carefully followed Rahab’s detailed instructions of how to escape Jericho and return to the desert alive.

How did Rahab elicit such obedience? Verses 17-21 reveal Rahab’s secret. To sum it up for you, after Rahab gives her instructions, the two spies interject with the stipulation that all of Rahab’s family must be inside her house at the time of the Israelite invasion, and Rahab’s response is instructive: “Agreed,” she replied. “Let it be as you say.” A quote from Patrick Lencioni will help us see why Rahab’s response is so huge: “If people don’t weigh in, they can’t buy in.” In other words, Rahab went along with the spies demand, rather than insisting on imposing her own will, thus eliciting heartfelt obedience from the spies. She allowed them to weigh in on the plan, and then got them to buy in on it!

I bet you didn’t anticipate learning so much on leadership from a prostitute, did you?


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