“Samuel said to all Israel, ‘I have listened to everything you said to me and have set a king over you. Now you have a king as your leader. As for me, I am old and gray, and my sons are here with you. I have been your leader from my youth until this day. Here I stand. Testify against me in the presence of the Lord and his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I accepted a bribe to make me shut my eyes? If I have done any of these things, I will make it right.’” - 1 Samuel 12:1-3
Samuel’s parting words to the Israelites were profound, prompting me to reflect on how heavy LEADERSHIP actually is. Leadership is heavy, not simply because of the amount of day-to-day responsibilities a leader must carry, but because as a leader, you have more sets of eyes following your every move, all the time; as a leader, you have more sets of ears tracking your every word, all the time. Because of this, the margin for error is slim to none. Furthermore, if you are not diligent in your decision-making and careful with how you carry yourself, the fall from the top will hurt...a lot.
Samuel’s words are a reminder that a leader must be cognizant of his or her status at all times, while still maintaining a humble stance to be able to convey that, “I am human and might have had some blind spots along the way…if I did, I am sorry and I will do my best to make things right.” This, in so many words, is INTEGRITY. In the end, he could confidently ask the Israelites those questions (to which they responded favorably in verse four) because his integrity preceded him and spoke for him, positively. I am highly-inspired by Samuel’s action here. If you are currently in a leadership position and are reading this, I hope you are, too.