Organizations that want to be faithful to God need to have leaders who are faithful to God. Their leaders need to exemplify righteousness… right-relationship with God. What does right-relationship with God look like?
When considering biblical examples, I first thought of Abraham, then Jesus, then Paul and Peter. But when I opened my Bible, it fell to the story of Noah. I took that as a sign. So, using the story of Noah’s relationship with God as a stepping off point, I will describe faithful leadership. I will follow it up with a portrait of a person, Dave Lippert at Hamilton Caster, whose leadership exemplifies righteousness, and conclude with a few questions for reflection.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God.Genesis 6:9b, NRSV
In reading the story of Noah, the concept that stood out to me was food, not the animals, the two by two’s, etc., but food. God says to Noah, “take with you every kind of food that is eaten, and store it up; and it shall serve as food for you and for them” (Genesis 6.21, NRSV). And, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything (Genesis 9.3, NRSV).
God created a covenant with Noah. The covenant was essentially, “Be in relationship with me, and I will give you everything you need to live well.” Noah trusted God and made his relationship with God primary. He left everything but God behind, so he and his family and the animals could live on the food that God would provide for them.
Based on the story of Noah, faithful leadership means loving God, being loved by God, and sharing that love with your organization’s members and stakeholders. To love God is to make God your primary relationship. Sharing your needs and desires with God, listening to God, and having faith that God will provide what you need through the people and events of your life. Making God primary can be very challenging, but through trust and experience, this relationship enables us to live rich and fulfilling lives.
Faithful leadership also means being loved by God. Leaders need to accept, take in, and store the spiritual food (e.g., gifts, talents, and blessings) that God provides. Only after claiming and being grateful for what God has done for us do we have the energy and capacity to share the qualities of God that have been born in us with others. For example, we can listen broadly and deeply, provide insight and direction, develop systems that sustain creativity and interdependence, etc. By choosing to honor God’s gifts to us and committing our lives to God’s service, we are enabled to share the life of God with others in a way that enables them to live more fully.
To me, Dave Lippert, the President of Hamilton Caster, is a leader who exemplifies righteousness, a person who lives covenantally with God. While he grew up in the family that owns Hamilton Caster, he left home to be of greater service. At the time, his idea was to serve his country. Along the way, he found himself called to become a Christian and to serve God.
Back in Ohio, at Hamilton Caster, he grew into leadership while holding onto his Christian values. Now, he folds his values into the organization and takes pride in caring for the people who work for them. He exudes humility, considering his front-line people as important as himself. He values equality, ensuring that dignity and fair treatment rise above pay grade and ethnic background. He exemplifies love. They take every step to keep their people, because losing a staff member is like losing a member of the family.
Dave Lippert is a faithful leader. He committed his life to Christ then continued to live out his faith as leader of a manufacturing company. He trusts God and strives to live accordingly. Under his leadership, Hamilton Caster has found a way to deliver the highest quality casters, while providing meaningful lives for the members of the organization.
Reflect then share your thoughts through a comment: What can you do to make God more primary in your life? What aspects of yourself or your life have you not given to God or claimed as from God? What has God done for you that enables you to be a faithful leader?