Trigger 4: Myopia
I was consumed with thinking about success in the moment, not about leaving something valuable to the upcoming generation. The irony of this is that I was in children's and youth ministry and preaching about raising up the next generation of leaders! This was easy to preach from a pulpit, but my daily actions and allowing pride to remain in my heart turned my leadership into something selfish. I want you to know that this is something I have been able to see only in looking back. In the moment I was full of fervor and most of my actions were done out of a heart that wanted to do my best for God and those I served. I wanted transformation in my church, community, and city. But I had underestimated the value of the little things: the little choices that built up over time, creating a bigger message that wasn't focused on leaving a legacy but covered with excuses about my negligence in the little things.
Little things matter. The daily choices we make as leaders build to tell a story about us that speaks louder than the successful moments we want to believe are louder. Hezekiah's choices in the little things, such as creating treasuries for himself and showing them to the enemy, not giving God benefit for adding to his life, and allowing pride to enter his heart without notice, all built up into a bigger story that was passed down to his son.
Hezekiah was rebuked by God, through the prophet Isaiah, for showing his treasuries to the king of Babylon. God declared that a day was coming when "everything in your palace—all the treasures stored up by your ancestors until now—will be carried off to Babylon" (Isaiah 39:6). Nothing would be left; his sons would also be taken. Yet Hezekiah called this a good message, for at least it meant there would be peace in his days. He showed no concern for his son's generation going into exile. I'm not sure how a leader gets to this point, other than from my own experience of not paying attention to the little things and placing more emphasis on moments of success. Hezekiah's son, Manasseh, became king after him, only to bring more evil into Judah than ever before, going as far as practicing witchcraft (2 Kings 21).
I wonder what would have happened to the future of Judah if Hezekiah would have cared about the next generation? Would his son have ruled in godliness? Would the rebuke of a coming exile have been lifted? Would Hezekiah have experienced a transformation of the heart, resulting in repentance from pride?