Legacy of Leaders: A 40-Day Journey with the Men of God’s Word
Jesus redefined the concept of leadership when He stated, “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Legacy of Leaders: A 40-Day Journey with the Men of God’s Word walks through 40 stories in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, from pillars of the faith like Abraham and David to the easily missed like Shamgar and Joseph (Jesus’ earthly dad). Whether your first or thousandth time through these ageless accounts of men who encountered God, Scripture reveals that He did not choose super-heroes, but rather broken men the world often ignored and overlooked. Be encouraged, challenged, and inspired on this 40-day journey, allowing God to show you what His leadership can look like in your life, as well as the leader He can create in you.
Robert Noland takes us on a 40-day journey through the Bible, examining 45 men whose lives speak to us through one dominant trait or another. As Bible students are well aware, 40 is one of those numbers that keep popping up through Scripture, whether it’s the 40 days and 40 nights it rained during the flood, or 40 years the Israelites spent wandering in the desert, or the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness before He began His ministry on Earth.
Forty is a number of preparation and transition, and those who read this book — which is primarily aimed at a male audience, but could just as easily be valued by females — should come away prepared to transition more into the person God has called them to be. The examples Noland cites are just regular people like you and me, so the book is thoroughly relatable.
Noland’s text focuses on fulfilling the two great commandments of Scripture — loving the Lord your God with all your heart and loving your neighbor as you love yourself. At each stage of the devotional, he pushes the reader to be accountable in both these facets of the Christian walk, whether it’s through Moses, from whom we learn servant-leadership, the prophet Samuel, from whom we learn reliability or David, from whom we learn zeal — although Noland calls it passionate, it’s essentially the same thing.
Noland doesn’t just focus on the big names. In fact, sometimes the men he draws from aren’t named at all, such as the four friends on a roof, who cut a hole in Peter’s roof so that their paralyzed friend could be healed by Jesus, or the centurion, who was a man of conviction. Would anybody consider the thief on the cross to be a leader? Noland throws him in the mix, too, as an example of submissiveness.
Noland shows that even characters included in the Bible for only one verse can teach us something valuable. Take Shamgar, for instance. You will find him only in Judges 3:31. As quickly as he shows up on the Old Testament scene, he disappears. All that one verse says about him is that he followed Ehud as a judge, was the son of Anath, and that he “struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. He too saved Israel.” But from him we learn what it means to improvise and be resourceful because an oxgoad is a farming tool, not a weapon of warfare.
In short, Legacy of Leaders is a thoroughly worthwhile read and even more a worthwhile book with which to interact, slowly and deliberately. It calls for introspection in the same manner that the Apostle Paul says, “Let a man examine himself.” It merits our Dove seal of Approval for All Ages. Though some of the material may be advanced for younger readers, we must remember that Samuel was but a boy when God called him and that Jeremiah thought he was just a boy.
Strangely enough, the prophet Jeremiah is omitted from Noland’s roster of leaders, though Jeremiah is the longest book in the Bible by word count. The weeping prophet could probably teach us a thing or two about enduring persecution, because he paid a price for speaking God’s words. Maybe Jeremiah will be for a future book.
The Dove Take:
Forty days’ worth of men worthy of emulation teaches us about aspects of leadership we might overlook, but whose lessons can make a real change in our lives.