When I approach Scripture honestly, with the understanding that these are books about real people in real time interacting (sometimes unwittingly) with a real God, I can meditate on the characters of the Bible in such a way that I imagine what it might have been like to do what they did. And I consistently come to a common conclusion: the leaders of the Bible were all nuts.
In mulling over the story of Elisha, for example, I might wonder about the incident with the widow’s oil (2 Kgs 4:1-7). Here, the widow of a righteous man is in debt and is in danger of losing her two sons as payment for that bill (her sons being her only hope for her sustenance the rest of her life). She is desperate and asks Elisha what she could possibly do to escape her despair. The prophet instructs the widow to collect empty jars from her neighbors and begin filling them with the little bit of olive oil she has in the house. In the end, the very small portion of oil that she had was multiplied to fill all the jars in town. This new oil, Elisha assures her, will be enough to cover her debts plus leftovers beside.
As I think about this story, I can’t help but ask, “How did Elisha know that this would work? How did Elisha know that if the woman simply kept pouring the small amount of oil that she had, it would miraculously expand in abundance?” The physics of this world haven’t changed in the three thousand years since Elisha’s day. An ounce of oil in one vessel is an once in another is an ounce in still another. On what basis could Elisha recommend this to the desperate widow?
Comedian and actress Lily Tomlin has asked, famously, “Why is it that when we talk to God we’re said to be praying, but when God talks to us we’re schizophrenic?” Elisha, in his day, may have been considered by many as a prophet, but many would have felt justified in labeling him a kook. Yet it was his ongoing conversational relationship with the Lord, I believe, that gave him the confidence to suggest a crazy course of action for the widow and expect an outrageous outcome.
It is just these types of characters that the Wellspring School of Leadership is seeking to form, particularly over the next several weeks, as we pursue our third course, Hearing God. It is these types of people, who claim to hear God’s voice, that writer and professor Dallas Willard says “become quite unmanageable once God starts ‘talking’ to them.”  No doubt Elisha (or Moses or David or Elijah or Ezra or Jesus or Peter or Paul) was unmanageable. Had they been mild, however, we’d have no Exodus, no Psalms, no Mt. Carmel, no Resurrection, no Romans.
Par for the course in leadership, it seems, is being crazy: hearing God’s voice, acting on His ridiculous recommendations, and seeing the miraculous unfold before them. Part of our goals in the Wellspring School of Leadership, then, is to all become a little more wild and a little more wacky.