Disputes most likely kick off when people are tired, run down, have been busy. David and his men are no exception.
Having been on the march to a battle and then returning home to find their own city looted, they set off to take revenge on their attackers. One third are exhausted and so hold back, while the rest go on and win the victory, reclaiming all the stuff.
This leads to a clear dispute: those who fought and won lay claim to all the goods; after all they have done the work, surely they deserve it!
Listen to their words (v22). Can you ever hear yourself saying something similar?
The fact is we all make claims, based on our efforts and what we put in. Typically when we are most exhausted or tired it spills out. Thats when a leader must be careful to lead with justice and generosity.
Look at David's decision (v23-26). He decides for the good of the whole community.
In any group or community, there will be different voices - making demands, calling for attention. As humans we can make the mistake of seeing our worth purely through what we do. Thinking our efforts are more important, it strengthens our voice, which in turn leads to our assumption that we should be heard above others.
Yet God works on a different value system. He sees the person, the heart, the underlying attitude. He longs for each of us to overflow for the benefit of all: weak and strong. A leader therefore must not simply go with the most vocal, but discern God's generosity principle.
David recognised that even those who stayed back had contributed in some way (guarding the supplies, for one thing!). Also he showed generosity, wanting to give a portion freely away (to those outside their own community). He operated from the ability to freely give.
Hence the key question:
[OUT] How freely are you able to give away?
Such a principle can operate at any level: in a small group, in a church, and on a national scale. Leaders are called to lead for justice out of God's generosity - hence our continual call on G8 leaders to lead for justice on the world economic stage, and for the UN to not simply overlook minorities (e.g. the Christians) in troubled places like Syria.
How freely are you able to give away? Whatever level you operate, that freedom will filter through into the decisions you take, and thus how you lead.