We have a natural antipathy to ambitious people. For instance, not a few view politicians with disdain because the term has come to mean a person who will do anything to gain and maintain power. Quite the opposite, the Bible extolls the grace of humility and warns against selfish ambition (Philippians 2:3-4).
Given the above, many young Christians struggle whether it is ever right to seek to be a leader, whether in the church or the secular space. It is true that God is the ultimate appointing power of a leader. He is sovereign in choosing who leads in the church, government, and private organizations.
However, Paul also said, “If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.” (1 Timothy 3:1). These words are spoken of a person who aims to be a pastor or leader in the church. Note that Paul indirectly praises the person who pursues the noble task of leadership. At that time, to be a pastor was daunting and could lead to premature death because of persecution. There is, therefore, a need to encourage those men to pursue such a calling.
Today, the reverse is true in many instances. Leading a church can lead to worldly honor, power, and even material gain. Still, the words of Paul indicate that there is nothing intrinsically wrong in aspiring to be a ministry leader. Indeed, the Bible clearly narrates that God used men and women leaders to advance His plan of salvation in the course of history.
In the secular world, the same principle holds valid. God is the one who ultimately appoints a leader (see Romans 13:1). However, we are also encouraged to be diligent in our calling. By common observation, we observe that those who grow in knowledge and work hard also advance in leadership positions.
We, therefore, conclude that while God is the ultimate appointing power, it is not wrong for Christians to desire that God will place them in leadership positions.
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