Have you ever considered the amount of time that passes between a green light and a red light as you are driving? Depending on the speed zone you’re in, it can vary from 3 to 5 seconds. Given that amount of time our brain has to make a quick decision, release the accelerator to slow down or as the old saying goes: “put the pedal to the metal”. At times some of us ignore the yellow warning light all together, our focus is on the red or the green, the stop or go that controls our momentum.
The first chapter of 1 Kings introduces us to a man named Adonijah, one of the sons of King David and third in line to the royal throne. (Let’s consider him the “pedal to the medal” green light type of guy). Then we meet Nathan and Bathsheba (our more cautious red light, action stopping counterparts). What we have here is a collision of ideas, thoughts and emotions about who is going to become King. Adonijah recognizes his father’s failing health and jumps the gun and appoints himself king, “I will be King” he says, completely ignoring the “yellow light” that prompts us to think about our actions. Was he ready to be king? Was he qualified? Did he have the blessing of the current king? Did he seek direction from the Lord? On the flip-side we have Bathsheba making her plea to King David to make good on his promise to have Solomon be his successor, an appeal that ultimately puts a stop to Adonijah’s plan. Bathsheba’s actions seem self-serving at first glance and they may well have been as she feared for her life and the life of her son Solomon. I do believe that our sovereign Lord used each of these events to shape the direction of leadership for His people.
When I reflect on God’s call in my life to be a leader in the church I must admit I spent a lot of time between the red and green lights. Unlike Adonijah, I took a considerable amount of time to listen for God’s direction in my life. Although I may have had some “green light” drivers encouraging (nudging) me from behind, I needed to be sure that the decisions I was making were not self-serving. We may not know the plans that God has for each of our lives but as we trust in Him and seek His direction He will reveal them to us. Our job and a good sound principle of Christ centred leadership is taking the time between the green and the red lights to listen for God’s direction.