The Faithful Pacesetters

Learning leadership from those who led in the Bible

Archive for the tag “Selfishness”

What Goes Around, Comes Around

Bible Character:  Obadiah (Prophet)

As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head. Obadiah 1:15 NIV

Obadiah’s warning that he gave to Edom serves the same today as it did back then.  If you don’t treat others correctly and have a low ethical standard, it will catch up to you.   The basics attributes of being honest, fair, respectful, and bringing a positive attitude are often not observed, which seems to be leading to an ever increasing abuse of power.  Sure, times have been worse before, but God’s blessing has also left.

The people of Edom definitely did not respect Israel, which eventually cost them dearly.  The Edomites were really the people of Esau, and they were fighting the Israelites, who were really the people of Jacob, so in a roundabout way, Esau was still being exposed for what he had done.

Quality leaders don’t compromise.

Integrity = adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. (

Morals = concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical (

Individuals who maintain high integrity and moral standard shine like bright stars on a very dark night.  Their character gives them credibility, which is something people will follow. People will respect and trust them.

Opposite of a quality leader is the one who struggles with “fleshy” wrongdoings.  They never seem to take personal responsibility.  They can suffer from an overindulgence of selfishness, deceit, too much pride, greediness, and anger.  A leader can get away with this type of behavior for a short period of time, but generally they are exposed, just as the Edomite’s were.

Ref: Bible Hub, Obadiah Summary, by Jay Smith, Ultimate bible summary collection.


Are You A Role Model?

Bible Character: Barzillai the Gileadite

Now Barzillai was a very old man, eighty years of age. He had provided for the king during his stay in Mahanaim, for he was a very wealthy man.  2 Samuel 19:32

A percentage of leadership is naturally inherited…but so much is learned and developed. This is why having role models is so important.


When Absalom tried to become King of Israel he forced his father King David to flee, and during that time Barzillai stepped up and provided for King David. He did not have expectations of repayment and was not looking for accolades.

Role models often think this way also. They have a desire to put others first, to be a support without thinking about how they may benefit from the situation.

Not Bitter

Selfishness and jealousy seem to be creeping into our society at an increased rate, which eventually leads to bitterness. Role models promote the opposite, giving to others instead of trying to keep all for themselves; making it a priority to inspire those around you instead of promoting antagonism.

The text mentions that Barzillai was wealthy, but it also goes on to mention that he was gracious in giving. He gave to others instead of selfishly keeping it all for himself.


Even though current media often promotes individuals who contribute to animosity, those types are greatly outnumbered by a populace contributing positively to their community.

Barzillai did not care to draw attention to himself. He freely gave his resources away to someone in need; he knew it was the right thing to do.

He was an encouragement to David, positively influencing him in his time of need.  He was a good role model for David to learn from.

Power Hungry?

Bible Character: Abimelech

Even though Israel had not started a monarchy system, after the death of his father Gideon, Abimelech self-appointed himself king. He did this by coercing the people of Shechem to support him. 

Abimelech was supposed to share the leading of the Israelites with his brothers, but he wanted all the power to himself, and went against God’s plan.  His first step as king was to kill 69 of his 70 brothers, only one escaped by hiding.

What identifies a power hungry leader?


Leaders who long for power are usually concerned mostly about themselves, not the interests of others.  They may even put the organization at risk to hold on to that power and maintain being the center focus. 

Power hungry leaders enjoy hearing accolades about themselves; they actually seek out those comments.  This usually leaves little room in their lives for building other people up through positive feedback.

They appear to have confidence, but often that’s really insecurity with a false front.


The administration of a power hungry leader will usually have a foundation of low values.  Cheating, dishonesty, and disrespect seem to be acceptable. 

Their number one goal is to keep all the power, and they will do whatever is needed in order to maintain it.  Abimelech somehow justified killing sixty nine of his brothers!

If you are in a position of power be aware of the selfishness that can creep in when you least expect it.  Guard your high moral standards and raise the expectations of those around you.

Abimelech did have some tactical skills and remained in power for three years.  God then unleashed his wrath on Abimelech and all the men of Shechem.  Abimelech was killed by a millstone that cracked his skull, dropped by a woman from a tower as he approached to burn it down.

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