The Unruly Ruler: The Challenges of Leadership


It took me a bit to decide how I wanted to write about the redemptive gift of ruler. While any unsanctified gift can lead to incredible harm, the ruler, if immature, leaves a lot of pain in his or her wake. Ask anyone if they have been injured by someone in authority and stories begin to pour forth.

Don’t get me wrong. Rulers are no better or worse than anyone else. But by their very nature, they have a tendency to take charge. A ruler often influences more people than most of the other gifts. Because of this, the ruler gift, if unsanctified, has the power to negatively affect lives in a myriad of ways.

A good leader can create organizations that accomplish incredible tasks. But the irony is that for many an undeveloped ruler, the task itself often outweighs the relationships needed to complete the task. Every redemptive gift has its downside. For the ruler, sometimes the ends justify the means.

Rulers, however, when they remember to nurture those helping them to achieve their task, are meant to do great things. And they want to. The first thing on any ruler’s mind is how can I make this bigger and better? They are empire builders and because their dreams are big, confrontation is no bigruler deal to them. It comes with the territory.

Interestingly, the ruler is the only redemptive gift that is not emphasized in the New Testament except for Jesus. The only real examples of rulers come from the Old Testament. Noah was a ruler. He had a big job with lots of conflicts and yet he completed the task despite eighty years of mockery from his neighbors. Nehemiah rebuilt Jerusalem despite the constant attack from Sanballat and Tobias.

The destiny of the ruler is to release generational blessings to the body of Christ. Think of Jereboam and God’s promise to him in 1Kings 11:38. If Jeroboam obeyed God, He would make his a lasting dynasty. Boaz was a ruler and Jesus came down through his family line. Solomon, also a ruler, was in the position to release incredible blessings generationally. But Solomon forgot the one thing a ruler must remember: the ruler must remember to honor God above all else. And his kingdom fell after his death because of the foreign gods he allowed in.

The ruler thrives under pressure and is an excellent manager of his or her time. In fact, they so love their work that they often become workaholics. Many are the women married to rulers who wait for years and years until retirement so that she can have her husband back. And when retirement hits, he either starts working at something else or he dies. A mature ruler can put the task down and has the patience to take care of the relationships in his or her life. 

Immature rulers are hard driving bosses who don’t pay enough. They want the job done yesterday for less than it’s worth. Mature leaders get more from their people because they know how to nurture talent and give their workers the support they need. Immature leaders govern through control and sometimes intimidation. Sanctified rulers, because they honor God, honor people above projects, allowing them to grow in their gifting. Rulers have an eye for the future that way.

Within Christian institutions, rulers often begin with the Great Commission as their goal. If they allow God to grow them, then the Greatest Commandment takes over and their effectiveness is greatly enhanced. After all, the Great Commission comes out of the Greatest Commandment to love God and then to love others.

One thing I find interesting that this gift isn’t particularly visionary. I really appreciate the ruler gift because as a primarily an exhorter with a shot of rulerprophet, I am a conceptual person. I have great ideas, but I need rulers to help me see them through. Once I figured this out, I started a number of fun things by surrounding myself with rulers. Theater productions, creative writing concentrations, and even a literary journal became realities because I found the right task-oriented person.

If you are a visionary, a ruler often makes a fantastic second in command. Give them support and they will make your dream a reality. And interestingly, rulers are not perfectionistic. Prophets are competitive and demand a high level of excellence. Rulers are ok with some wiggle room as long as the job gets done.

This gift is associated with the sixth day of creation in which Adam and Eve are given dominion over all the wide diversity of animals. The sixth day is the first day of teamwork as Adam and Eve begin stewarding the earth and all that lived therein. Rulers get teamwork. You know all those movies where the coaches take rotten teams and make them champions. Rulers, all of them. They may have a bit of exhorter but generally, they know how to bring out the best in anyone.

That is one way in which the ruler releases generational blessings. He or she gives others the opportunity to develop expertise and prove themselves. Loyalty is the number one important trait to a leader. You don’t have to be fully trained or even completely competent, but if a ruler trusts you, you have a real opportunity. A real leader can use the gifts of imperfect people without allowing their flaws to affect the project.

However, every gifting has a core lie that threatens their identity. For a leader/ruler, the lie they often believe is I am only legitimate when I am in charge. Authority is very important to this redemptive gift, but when it forms the core of their identity, then their leadership becomes corrupted. This gifting faces some of the most difficult temptations because of their natural relationship with power. Even Jesus was tempted by the devil in this arena when they met in the wilderness. Jesus gave the honor to God and subsequently defeated the devil to all our benefit.

The challenge of the leader/ruler is to limit his or her projects to only those God calls them to. The calendar of a leader can get pretty clogged. Even Jesus, the only real clear ruler gift in the New Testament, had to make time for himself from the constant pressure of the crowd. If you could heal anyone, would you not be tempted to do just that 24/7?

So all of you take-charge individuals who know how to get things done, thank you for all your hard work. Make sure you know how to play, not just work. The world needs you to do what you do best, but like the rest of us, your gift can only fully be realized when used in full surrender and honor to God. Complete your projects and allow God to release those blessing through you!


For an overview of all the redemptive gifts:


Other posts on the redemptive gifts at Poema Chronicles:

Why the Teacher and the Exhorter Need Each Other

8 Replies to “The Unruly Ruler: The Challenges of Leadership”

  1. Actually; a true leader serves, and does not wait to be served. May God help us to be true leaders.

  2. I have a whole bulletin board full of projects and ideas that I’m praying over to ensure they are God’s desire for me! I can struggle to allow myself to play at times. It’s something I have to focus on.

  3. Good rulers bring out the best in everyone. Yes! But like you said, they need to learn how to rest, too, so that they don’t end up burning out because everyone always puts them in charge of everything.

  4. This was an interesting perspective on the ruler gifting and I had never really thought about the idea that a good ruler needs to surround themselves with others who have visions that they can help accomplish and complete. I am not a ruler. I am a mercy, so many of those traits are foreign to me. Ha, ha. Thanks for sharing your insight and helping me to understand the ruler a little better. – Amy

  5. Beautifully written! The part that jumped out at me was where you talked about how rulers need to limit themselves to what god called them to. I think that applies to all of our lives and can help so much!

  6. Great job handling the intricacies of this gift, Alice. You gave wise advice on handling the natural tendencies of leadership. One piece that stood out to me was to make sure that leaders limit themselves to what God wants them in charge of—That’s important advice for all of us!

  7. What an interesting post! Thanks for sharing the pitfalls and perspectives of someone with the ruler gifting.

  8. Donna Miller says: Reply

    Alice, this is a very insightful and wisdom filled post. I am printing up your PDF File on the Redemptive Gifts as I type this. I believe my redemptive gift is exhortation, even though a lot of people have spoken over me that I have the gift of mercy. I really want to look into all this more! Thank you Alice for sharing this. It is extremely valuable and will help me immensely. Blessings … 😘💕

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