Ezekiel and John both saw the four awesome living creatures that stand around the throne of God. Both of them (Eze. 1: 10, Rev. 4: 7) describe their four faces: an eagle, an ox, a lion, and a man. Could these four powerful creatures give us an insight into the nature of God’s kingdom and leadership model?
Paul describes a leadership model with all four included in (1 Cor. 16: 13-14):
1. The Eagle. Be on the alert (WATCH)
- The eagle’s sharp eyes are ever vigilant for enemies and prey.
- A leader has to remain “watchful,” not becoming distracted when a ruthless enemy is “seeking someone to devour.”
- You have to “watch your money.” You have to “watch your purity.” You have to “watch your example.” You have to “watch your marriage and children.” When you take something for granted and get distracted off on to other things is when disaster happens in the lives of leaders.
2. The Ox. Stand firm in the faith (STAND)
- The ox face stands for “the ox”. The old ox just doesn’t quit. He serves, he gives, he nurtures, he plods.
- The ox can keep his commitments. I have had staff members on our staff for over 25 years. You can just count on them to be present, on time, and committed.
- Inconsistent ministry leaves people guessing about direction. Sometimes as a leader your flesh wants to quit or change direction but “staying the course” produces great results. Keep plowing!
3. The Lion. Act like men, be strong (FIGHT)
- “From the Gadites there came over to David…mighty men of valor…whose faces were like the faces of lions (1 Chron. 12: 8)
- A lion is fearless. David had the “heart of a lion.” Timothy’s timidity of leadership was his greatest enemy. We must overcome a spirit of intimidation from powerful financial players, delicate legal issues, and divisive staff members in order to be a great leader.
- The “Lion” is not afraid to make hard decisions in “crunch time.” He will defend the philosophy, sacrifice, and mandate of the church from a spiritual “wolf” without fear or hesitation.
4. The Man. Let all that you do be done in love (LOVE)
- The last face is the face of a “man”. It represents the personal side of a leader, his tender “touchable” side.
- If a leader is “untouchable” (never able to be real, involved, and connected) his leaders will never feel a sense of affirmation and tenderness toward their leader.
- Paul’s Ephesian elders knelt on the beach and kissed him when he spoke to them for the final time: “And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him” (Acts 20: 37).
As you look at these four faces (your discernment, your consistency, your courage, and your compassion) which one do you see as your weakest face as a leader?