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4 more types of busy leaders

| by Ryan Sanders

Leaders are busy. I get it. Our sin is busyness. Said differently—our sin is often workaholism. Many will tell you, “You’re good enough, you’re smart enough and, darn it, people like you.”  

The gospel truth is: you aren’t good enough, smart enough and people won’t like you. You need God’s help. Understanding these types of leaders will help us grow and change so we lead others who grow and change. 

Here are four more types of busy leaders and the idols of their hearts. Which leader are you?

#1 Mr. or Ms. No responsibilities

This leader often has a difficult marriage and family life. If you’re this leader, you don't want to come home. You drive slower in traffic just to take a longer commute. When home, you convince yourself and your family you’re too tired to help or deal with anything in the home.

Often, this is a slow decline. You started off decent as a newly married. You did everything to win your spouse. Then, the slow creep down to escape-responsibilities town started taking place. So much that it’s been months or years and your spouse handles most things at home and with your kids.

“Pay careful attention, then, to how you live—not as unwise people but as wise—making the most of the time, because the days are evil.So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is” (Ephesians 5:15-17).

Imagine the difference made in this type of leader if he lives in view of these verses? If we lead with Ephesians 5:16 in mind, our evenings and weekends will look different than they do now.

#2 Mr. or Ms. Adultery

This leader finds acceptance and approval with the colleague of the opposite sex. He or she is starting to form—or has already formed—unwise, inappropriate relationships. Let’s be honest and call this what it is—pre-adultery.

I won’t go lite here because I don't want you to go lite on me. Leaders, we don’t get up in the morning, read our Bibles, pray and truly worship God all day—just to commit adultery by evening. 

No, adultery is death by a 1,000 paper cuts. There were a 1,000 little decisions you made along the way. We can’t be ignorant of what’s happening. Guard your affections. See the signs.

“You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28).  

#3 Mr. or Ms. Approval

This idol is sneaky. You should want to do good work in life. And, in general, you should care what people think. But not too much! What’s your why? Kind of like Mr. Pride—what’s the motivation behind your actions? You can do the right thing for the wrong reasons.

Do you work hard because you understand you’re honoring God? Or, are you working hard simply because you’re afraid of displeasing your boss or losing your boss’ approval? This takes discernment. But I see this one in my own life. Why do I say, “yes” all the time and overcommit to work or church or whatever? Why am I afraid to push back?

When I’m at my best, I know whether I’m saying yes to simply please people—or—I can say no and please God. I get it. There are seasons and all that. But, there has to be a balance somewhere between doing the right things—yet not doing them for selfish interests—or being terrified to say no. Gotta be. What’s my point? We should be careful to serve God and not man—in all of our dealings. Fear of man is a thing. It’s in the Bible. 

“The fear of mankind is a snare, but the one who trusts in the Lord is protected” (Proverbs 29:25). 

“Nevertheless, many did believe in him even among the rulers, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, so that they would not be banned from the synagogue. For they loved human praise more than praise from God.” (John 12:42-43).

#4 Mr. or Ms. Perfectionist

This leader is proud of his work ethic and does what is right. Often, this leader simply hasn’t experienced failure. He says when things go wrong, “I'll just lean in a work harder.” Half-truth alert! Sure, sometimes leaning in is the answer—because you actually haven't been working hard enough! But, beyond that, where is God in your life? Are you dependent on him—regardless of how much or how hard you're working?

Sadly, while this leader might not say it aloud, they live as though they believe being the perfect worker makes them righteous. 

These are the desires that drive each of us, busy leaders. If you want to move toward change for yourself and those you lead, learn how to combat your idols—the idols of your heart—the cravings—the desires. 

Keep asking: What’s motivating you to do what you’re doing? Why are you overwhelmed with busyness? 

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28-30). 

Content from this article is adapted from Dr. Tim Pasma’s lectures on idols of the heart and workaholism.

Photo source: istock 


Ryan Sanders

Ryan Sanders is the Director of Outreach at Manhood Journey. He holds a Master of Divinity from The Southern Seminary, is a Fellow at The Colson Center for Christian Worldview and serves as a Lay Pastor at McLean Bible Church. He and his wife Tonia have three children, live in Washington, D.C. and are diehard Redskins fans.



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