Being an Armor Bearer

I’ve been thinking this week about being an armor bearer. My thoughts were provoked by reading the story of Jonathan and his armor bearer in 1 Samuel 14. You can read the full story here.

Outlining the story

There is a fight brewing between two armies. Jonathan is the son of the king. One day he has a wild idea. If God is all-powerful, he could defeat an entire army with just a few guys. He didn’t really need an entire army.

Jonathan then shares his thoughts with the guy who carries his armor. And, shockingly, the guy says that he’ll follow Jonathan if he wants to test his theory.

They both head over to the other side and end up kicking some serious butt.

Armor bearers

If you are leading a group of any size, you need a wing-man. There must be someone who is saying, “ok, let’s go!”. Someone who has your back and is ready to follow your charge.

Jonathan had a crazy idea. He needed to work through that idea with another person. And, he needed to be able to trust that person to support him. Imagine if his armor bearer had said, “I’m not getting involved in that, you’re crazy!”. But, look at what this guy (we don’t know his name!) said, “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”.

Developing armor bearers

We don’t hear anything about Jonathan before this story. But, you don’t get this kind of buy in from people without having a good reputation.

If you are a leader and you want committed followers, you’re going to need to create a culture where people want to follow you. I’m not going to expand on this in this post, but you can start with this tip.

Ask questions. And, look people in the face when they respond. (Don’t stare at your phone or computer when people are talking to you.)


One more thing… We’re not all supposed to be a Jonathan. Some of us are armor bearers. We need to find someone that we trust and then support them.

It’s not easy being an armor bearer. You carry a heavy load and nobody remembers your name. But, if you get your ego under control, you’ll realize that you have a hand in all of the leader’s victories.

Jonathan is knocking the enemies down and the armor bearer is finishing people off. He’s in the middle of a great battle with a guy he trusts implicitly. He’d never be able to do this on his own. And, he knows the leader would never get this far without him.

The leader and the armor bearer have a symbiotic relationship. They need each other. When they pull together they are virtually unstoppable.

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