“Great Leaders and Authority”
The appropriate and healthy use of authority by a leader is a beautiful thing. A wonderful example about the concept and use of authority by a leader is found in both Matthew 8 and Luke 7. In this story, a Centurion approaches Jesus and initiates a dialogue, included in the dialogue is the confirmation of the Centurion’s keen understanding about the use of authority. This Roman Centurion was likely very diligent with the military business of the Roman Army, since he was a key army leader at the “middle management level.” He commanded a “century”, which consisted of about 100 Roman soldiers. This was a really important leadership position.
This Centurion found in Matthew 8 and Luke 7 knew about legitimate authority: hear these words in Matthew 8:9 (ESV), “For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go’, and he goes, and to another, ‘Come’, and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this’, and he does it.” Now, this story provides a picture of this Centurion who authentically cares about his dying servant. This Centurion was probably very different from his peers and superiors. He demonstrated a profound concern for his servant. He probably used all of his authority that he possessed to save his servant who served him and his interests.
Is one of your subordinates, peers, or superiors having a really tough time in the workplace or at home? Are you lifting that person up to God in prayer? Are you using your “position” to help in any way you can? The habitual, benevolent use of authority and position for the good of others is a beautiful thing. Let us encourage you, as you grow and develop in your leadership, to study lessons on submission to authority, on authority structures, on authority conflict, and on the exercise of authority. It is our hope that you will search for and understand legitimate authority, that you will desire to be a role model of legitimate authority, and that you will pursue the true spiritual authority that resides in Jesus Christ.