“But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss.” Acts 27:21
Acts chapter twenty-seven is the account of Paul’s voyage to Rome. The ship and the passengers Paul was with were severely endangered due to bad weather on this voyage. Although the ship was damaged beyond repair, thankfully, no one on board lost his life.
Acts twenty-seven teaches us important leadership lessons for dealing with a crisis. Anyone who is in a position of leadership will encounter times of crisis when these lessons will be extremely valuable to him.
Someone has aptly said, “Crisis does not make the man; rather, crisis reveals what is in the man.” The development of leadership in each of us is a stepping stone of preparation for times when our leadership will be put to the test.
Notice how Paul demonstrated exemplary leadership during a major crisis:
1. He Exemplified Leadership That Was Courageous
“… Paul stood forth in the midst of them...” Acts 27:21
Courageous leadership will step up and assume command of a situation no matter how dark or difficult the situation is.
Courageous leadership accepts risks that others will decline.
Courageous leadership does not say, “Somebody needs to do something about this.” Rather, it says, “I need to do something about this.”
2. He Exemplified Leadership That Was under Control
“For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve.” Acts 27:23
Someone has said, “A successful man is someone who can lay a foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.”
F. B. Meyer gave sound advice on what to do in a crisis:
Never act in panic, nor allow man to dictate to you; calm yourself and be still; force yourself into the quiet of your closet until the pulse beats normally and the “scare” has ceased to disturb. When you are most eager to act is the time when you will make the most pitiable mistakes. Do not say in your heart what you will or will not do, but wait upon God until He makes known His way. So long as that way is hidden, it is clear that there is no need of action, and that He accounts Himself responsible for all results of keeping you where you are.
Paul was under control—the control of the Holy Spirit!
A Spirit-filled man is one who is able to lead regardless of whether things are calm or upside down.
This world is in need of leaders who are under God’s control when times of crisis occur.
3. He Exemplified Leadership That Was Comforting
“And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship.” Acts 27:22
Previous to Paul’s comforting exhortation, the centurion in charge of the ship chose to listen to the ship master rather than Paul. Paul could have easily chided him for his bad decision by saying, “See! I told you I was right!” During this moment of crisis, everyone needed a word of encouragement and Paul supplied it.
4. He Exemplified Leadership That Was Competent
“Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.” Acts 27:25
Paul knew what he was talking about because God had already confirmed His message in Paul’s heart. Paul believed God’s Word.
Competent leadership knows what it is talking about, knows where it is going, and how it will get done.
5. He Exemplified Leadership That Connected
“And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat. Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat.” Acts 27:35-36
God not only vindicated Paul’s previous words; He also validated Paul’s leadership.
During this crisis, Paul was the one everyone listened to and followed.
Crises are a part of every leader’s lot in life. It is how we handle the crises that determine how far we will go in our leadership.
Don’t look despairingly at your current problems: they are what the Lord has ordered to prepare you for a future crisis!
Let us determine to let the Lord build and develop us in all aspects of leadership. We never know when we will have to draw upon these experiences in order to lead during a time of crisis.