Two Tests Leaders Face

Mark Batterson, author of the excellent In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, and one of the pastor bloggers I follow, wrote this recently:
One of my heroes is Benaiah. And I love the story of him chasing a lion into a pit on a snowy day and killing it. One of the most courageous acts in Scripture! I think of that episode as the courage test. And Benaiah passed with flying colors! And because he did, it opened the door to become King David's bodyguard.

But there is another story and another test. This one didn't make it into In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. And it may not be as flashy or fancy as chasing a lion. But it took just as much courage and even more character. Toward the end of his life, there was a coup against King David. Adonijah tried to usurp power and many of David's closest friends betrayed him. Not Benaiah. And I love Benaiah for that. He was loyal to the death. And I think it not only revealed his integrity. I think it helped him fulfill his destiny.

If it wasn't for that act of loyalty, Benaiah would have never realized his destiny as commander in chief of Israel's army. Why? Because David overcame the coup. Solomon went on to become King. And it was Solomon who appointed Benaiah. Why? Not because he chased a lion. Because he stayed loyal to his father!

Can I suggest that leaders face two tests?

One is the courage test. And Benaiah passed that test with extra credit when he chased a lion into a pit on a snowy day. The other test is the character test. And that is the one that so many leaders fail. As a leader, you need to prove your courage by making difficult decisions, taking huge risks, and casting God-sized visions. But if you fail the character test it's all for naught. The courage test is not the litmus test. The character test is the litmus test.

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