“Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar?” (Jeremiah 22:15)
Most of us don’t want cedar. What would we do with it anyway? I’m not even sure you can sell it on Amazon. But during the time of Jeremiah, cedar was hugely important. It was the sign of wealth, power, and affluence. It was the Rolls Royce of building materials.
And God is calling out Shallum son of Josiah.
Shallum wanted to prove his “greatness” by building a palace to himself filled with cedar. It would be like you or I building a house out of marble. Sure it’s nice, but does it really matter? That’s the question God is asking. You see, God doesn’t measure greatness by how nice your house is, or what kind of car you drive. God measures greatness by different standards. He measures your greatness by your heart and by your actions.
In short, it’s who you are that matters, not what you have.
It is all too easy to confuse the trappings of office with true leadership. We think that just because someone has a corner office, a big desk, and an impressive title that they are a leader. But that’s not how God measures leadership. Biblical leadership isn’t defined by how much stuff you have. It’s defined by your heart. It’s defined by who you are and what you do.
Biblical leadership is about self-sacrifice. It’s about doing something with what you have. It has nothing to do with looking like a leader.
The next time you are tempted to buy something because it makes you look important, remember that biblical leadership isn’t about nice stuff, it’s about the core of who you are. You don’t want to find yourself in the same position as Shallum son of Josiah.
This is part of an ongoing series on Biblical Leadership.