Dead Stick Leadership

Jon Burgess


8The next day Moses entered the tent and saw that Aaron’s staff, which represented the tribe of Levi, had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds. 9Then Moses brought out all the staffs from the Lord’s presence to all the Israelites. They looked at them, and each of the leaders took his own staff. Numbers 17:8-9


The lesson to the Israelites was clear. Godis the one who appoints and anoints leaders. There were 12 staffs from the head of each tribe but only one sprouted, budded, blossomed, and produced fruit. You can have the position and appearance of a leader, but do you have the fruit of a leader appointed and operating in His presence? Jesus came to establish the priesthood of the believer, but continued this standard of discernment when it came to leaders. In Matthew 7:15-20 He pointed out that there would many who would look and sound like true leaders of the Lord. Stand them side by side and they both look right. The only way to recognize which was true and which was false was by their fruit. The same is true today.


Just as only Aaron's staff would bear fruit in the presence of God the same is true of each of us. It's only in His presence that what we do will be proven true. It doesn't matter our position, our title, our audience, our influence, our popularity. It's all about the fruit being produced. All who follow Christ are a "chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praise of him who called you out darkness into his wonderful light."(1 Peter 2:9). So, what is my life declaring if I'm not living my life out in His presence? My fruit will be borne from fear, self-preservation, striving, competition, comparison, and self-promotion rather then God promotion. When I am trying to "do ministry", "do leadership", "do life" outside of His presence I'm no better then a dead stick. When, however, I "live and move and have my being" (Acts 17:28) in His presence the impossible happens. He takes a dead stick and brings life to it and through it. When I stay a disciple sitting at His feet the whole life cycle of the Spirit takes place in me and consequently in those around me. Sometimes, if I'm not staying close to Him, I can cut the growth process short. I can get carried away in my leadership position rather then in letting Him lead and I effectively ruin the fruit being produced in His presence. If I take the blossom off and I'll never see the almond. If I take the almond off during the growing season the fruit produced will be hard and sour. If I let fruit develop in the season then the almonds will be ready to harvest and will feed those around me. The question is not whether or not we are called to lead. The question is whether we are leading from His presence or simply from our position. The answer to this question will determine whether our life produces fruit or stays a dead stick. It was obvious to the people of Israel who was leading from God's presence. The same truth will become painfully obvious to everyone around us by the fruit we produce or the lack thereof.


Lord, I feel that one of my life missions is to release Your chosen people into their God-given role as a royal priesthood in the world around them. This morning You have reminded me that position is nothing without Your presence. Pastor Wayne says we can teach what we know but we will reproduce who we are. I want to bear the fruit of a man desperate for the presence of God. I want to see the life cycle of your Spirit in me and all those you have entrusted to me. That the sprout, the bud, the blossom, and the fruit of Your Spirit would be constantly at work in my life. Please forgive me for the times when I have cut it short, running off in my position to accomplish what can only be done in Your presence! Take this dead stick and bring life again!

Devotions for February 26

Numbers 19,20
Psalms 28
Mark 5

Start Doing Devotions

Devotions are an important part of everyday life. Click here to learn how to do devotions.