Seeking the Right Way … Ezra 8:21

Vol 1, No. 3 – 2016

That we might humble ourselves before our God to seek a right way . . . (Ezra 8:21)

ezra8_21Soldiers hear it often: “There are three ways of doing a thing, the right way, the wrong way, and then there is the Army way; the Army way is the choice you must make.” That is great training. If a military man chooses the wrong way, success is rare and the cost of assets is stunning. Choosing the way that seems right to a person often leads to misperception and outcomes rarely come close to what is expected.

Filling roles of expectation requires obedience. Ezra did not think to begin his journey without seeking God’s protection and wisdom. The journey, beginning in the heat of summer, was one from Babylon to Jerusalem. The heat required the path to be changed to a cooler northern route, one of over 800 miles.

Three choices loomed for Ezra:

  1. The wrong way—one without consulting the wisdom of Almighty God (no reference to the Word of God, no prayer, and no seeking God’s wise counsel)
  2. The seemingly right way—one that relies on one’s own determination; self-reliance, self-serving, and self-satisfaction (There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death—Proverbs 14:12)
  3. The right way according to God—God’s way.

Leadership requires obedience to the parameters of the organization; to The Way of the organization that has as its foundation mission, vision, and core values. Without The Way, the leader is left to what seems right or the wrong way.

The early Christians were identified as people of The Way, a description of their character and faith (Acts 9:2; 19:9; 22:4; 24:14). How does your leadership role depict being one of The Way?

To every man there opens a way, and ways, and a way. And the high soul climbs the high way, and the low soul gropes the low; and in between, the way on the misty flats. The rest drift to and fro. But to every man there opens A high way and a low, and every man decides the way his soul shall go. (John Oxenham, 1913)

Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord; point out the right road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. Psalm 25:4-5

I gathered leading men to go up with me … (Ezra 7:28)

ezraVol 1, No. 2 – 2016

He was the son of a poor laborer who lived in Allegheny PA. As a young man he worked in cotton factories and as a messenger for the telegraph business. At age twenty-four he was in charge of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Western Division.

How did this occur?

He read, devouring books held in a home library, made available by General Richard Anderson. Andrew Carnegie, the reader, the devouring young man, became the most productive and wealthy men of all America.

In his productive years he said, “Take my blast furnaces, my buildings, my real estate, my stocks and bonds, and my credit; but leave me my men and in a few years I will have it all back again.” Leaders are known by the institutions they build. Great leaders do not often ascend because of “experience,” but by the ability to bring quality people to join with them in their task. Carnegie was just that leader.

Ezra’s associates numbered 1753 (8:1-14). Because Ezra listened to God, and surrounded himself with outstanding people, he was to be a successful servant of God.

Crawford Greenwalt, who served as President of DuPont, said of leadership: “Organizations do not make men, but it is men who make organizations. It is what men bring with them in the way of character and adaptability and fresh ideas that enrich the organizational bloodstream and insure corporate longevity.”

How easily we attempt to substitute “experience” for character and adaptability in today’s decisions for bringing on new leadership.

Ezra did not go alone. He took quality men with him. “We” is always better than “I“.

In a world constantly straining to devise new programs and methods, new plans, new directors, and use the latest fads to advance the organization, we lose sight of the man of character and adaptability. God has a history of making the person to be far more than ever imagined. People are God’s focus and people are God’s method. E.M. Bounds said, “The [organization] is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men.”

Thus I was strengthened according to the hand of the Lord my God upon me, and I gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me. Ezra 7:28

Jesus said, “Come with Me, and I will make you a new kind of fisherman. I will make you a leader to catch men and women instead of catfish and walleye.” (Paraphrase of Matthew 4:19-20)

How are you and your organization doing? Have you tried God’s plan that works better?

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