Leaders come in many shapes and sizes with different gifts, talents, and personalities.  But there are certain core characteristics that great leaders seem to have in common. I recently shared how the head of a leader is filled with wisdom and understanding.  Today, I’d like to describe the eyes of a leader.

The eyes of a leader always see the potential for a better future. The ability to see such potential is called vision.  That’s what really separates true leaders from other people. While others see what’s wrong and complain, leaders see what’s possible and take action.

All great leaders have the ability to look at circumstances and envision how they could be better. Great coaches see how their athletes will play better.  Great teachers see how their students will learn better.  Great doctors see how their patients will feel better. Think of all the leaders recorded in the Bible who had a vision to make things better.  Moses had a vision to free the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt.  Nehemiah had a vision to rebuild the broken walls of Jerusalem.  Paul had a vision to expand the early Christian church all around the world.

Indeed, great vision comes from God.  He always sees higher potential in situations and especially in people.  I think about the Bible’s account of Abraham and Sarah.  When Abraham was 99 years old, God told him that his wife, Sarah, would give birth to a son.  This promise seemed incredible, as Abraham and Sarah were “old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing” (Genesis 18:11).  Abraham and Sarah struggled to believe God’s word at first, and they even laughed at the thought.  Still, God held firm to His promise, asking “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (Genesis 18:14).

How could God declare that a man and woman so old would have their own child? He could do this, because He has vision, the ability to see potential that others don’t see.  He saw potential in Abraham and Sarah that they didn’t even see themselves.

Sure enough, when Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90, she miraculously gave birth to a son, Isaac.  His birth began a heritage that would shape the nation of Israel and lead to multitudes of followers of God.  Though it didn’t seem possible, Abraham and Sarah became the father and mother of nations just as God had declared.

Jesus is the prime example of a leader with a vision for a better future. All throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus “went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil” (Acts 10:38).  Jesus looked for opportunities to make people better.  He proclaimed that He was sent “to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18).

In the same way, we need to always see the potential for better things.  When you look at the situations and people in your life, see them not just as they are, but as they could be.  Always remember that circumstances don’t have to stay the way they are.  You can change them for the better through the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Thankfully, Jesus sees each of us not just as we are, but as we are destined to be.  He always calls us forward to better things.  Let us be leaders who walk out God’s vision and realize the potential He has placed in us and in those around us.

Leadership Lesson: The eyes of a leader see the potential for a better future.