The fourth candidate for a leadership position in a contemporary ministry is Jephthah. I have already reviewed Ehud, Deborah and Gideon for your discerning consideration. So here is my objective review of Jephthah for a leadership role in your local church:
JEPHTHAH: I strongly advise you to send this guy away. Right now. Don't consider him. Seriously. Jephthah strikes me as being over-eager to lead and yet struggling with deep-seated insecurity issues. Because of his illegitimate birth, Jephthah suffered considerable derision during his teenage years at the hands of his half-brothers. As a result, Jephthah developed an unhealthy obsession with seeking affirmation from those closest to him and a blood-thirst for anyone lacking commitment to him. Even in leadership, Jephthah is quick to make promises that increase his public approval ratings.
To be fair, it does seem that Jephthah loves the Lord. But, in my estimation, Jephthah serves God in negotiation rather than in trust. His enthusiasm can be contagious, but dangerous as well. Those closest to him likely will be asked to sacrifice tremendously… especially those in his household… because of his zealous promises and acceptance-seeking deals. Likewise, those furtherst from him will probably be killed in a subversive ambush.
It should be noted that Jephthah is incredibly adept at eliminating the competition. Jephthah is quick with the sword and with his mouth against any foe. Unfortunately however, Jephthah is not always quick with his brain. In what may be the most costly leadership decision of his career, Jephthah refused to break a vow he made before his constituents.
In Jephthah's mind, the value of keeping one's word shows integrity- a character trait to be strongly admired… unless of course one's word is absolutely assinine!! And in Jephthah's case, his word is very likely to be a hair-brained, controversial, throw-up inducing idea. Yes, Jephthah's rags to riches story could be construed as inspirational, but it comes at the cost of others. Be prepared. Many will mourn the accomplishments of Jephthah. Oh, and any congregation considering hiring Jephthah will need to be comfortable with the whole child-sacrifice thing. Candidacy Comparison: Ace Ventura meets Saddam Hussein.
I just read each profile. What a creative approach to analyzing the leaders in Judges. The challenging part is that I think as a leader I can relate with each in some way. It has helped me realize that when the Psalmist says “wisdom is supreme”, he really meant it.
Thanks again Ken. I am both encouraged and challenged when I read your blog.