There is a crisis of leadership, worldwide! Where are the modern Churchills, Eisenhowers, DeGaulles or Adenauers? Where are today's David's, Elijahs, Abrahams? Where can today's nations find men with the ability and quality of character to take over the reins of government?
Problems Without Solutions
We line in a world of mind boggling problems — problems which seemingly defy solutions. How can the world stop nuclear proliferation? And how can mankind ensure that the ever-growing club of nuclear nations doesn't become trigger happy? Can the world find a way to clothe and feed its "hungry millions" — which could soon become its "hungry billions"? How can we check the population explosion? And now most industrial nations are vainly grappling with the problem of spiraling inflation. How can this inflationary malaise afflicting all technologically advanced nations be cured? Some already think it is too late to avert another worldwide nightmarish depression. But that is not all. Can mankind find a way to prevent or even cure such frightening scourges as cancer, heart disease, mental illness? Then there is the ever-increasing reality of crime and terrorism — much of it senseless and with no apparent motive. How to prevent or at least cope with crime is by itself a huge headache for the world's leaders. And there are many other problems: juvenile delinquency, marital breakups, immorality, racial strife, drugs, drugs, drunkenness. There are just a few of the many world headaches which refuse to go away. But where can we find leaders to cope with these colossal problems? Are today's youth being effectively trained to take the helms of big governments and grapple successfully with these and other problems confronting mankind? Many believe that given enough time man will find solutions to all his problems. Man is a born optimist. But all too often men believe that they, totally apart from God, have all the answers. There are, however, those who say that man, with his present nature, does not have the solutions to any of the really big problems. They not only doubt man's ability to solve his own problems without bringing apocalyptic upheavals among the nations, but many of these same pessimists also doubt the very existence of God. Or if they believe in God, they think He has gone way off and left man to solve his own problems to the best of his limited ability.
Failure of Home, School and Church
There are causes for all effects — reasons for everything. What are some of the reasons for today's lack of leadership? We need to look at 1) modem home life, 2) education, 3) religion. First of all, look at modem family life. More and more families are breaking up. But why? In great measure because the husband and father fails to supply the wise leadership needed to guide the home. More mothers are having to take over the reins of the home because of absent or derelict fathers. The denigration of fatherhood is having an adverse effect on the youth of today — and will ultimately affect their ability to be able to take the lead in a world badly lacking in solid leadership. A young man who is brought up in a home where there is no father, or where the father has abdicated his leadership role as head of the family, will be a confused adult, utterly lacking in the ability to fulfill his God-given role as leader in tomorrow's home. Secondly, look at the training of our youth in the schools and colleges. Most of today's teachers are admittedly lacking in the ability to give the students under their charge the inspiration and the answers which they are seeking. More and more, students are being turned off. All too often, their teachers tell them they must reconcile themselves to living in a hostile and confused world with huge, unsolvable problems. Is it any wonder today's students are not receiving the proper training necessary for dynamic leadership in tomorrow's world? Thirdly, what are the churches doing to supply the leadership which will be needed so badly? Again, as in the home and in the institutions of learning, the churches are failing to give today's youth the leadership training which will make them capable of coping with tomorrow's crushing problems. One might ask: "But surely the churches, those who know God and His Word, ought to be able to point the way for today's youth?" Yes, the churches ought to be able, but they aren't. Why? The blunt truth is that the many hundreds of religious bodies are themselves too divided to speak with a united voice. How can they fail to confuse others when they themselves are in confusion? The veritable babylon of doctrines, often contradicting one another, is enough to thoroughly confuse any honest inquirer. Thou" sands have asked: "Which of these religions is right? Which religion possesses the real truth? Don't they get their beliefs and practices out of the Bible? Then why can't they agree?" How is it that the churches can't even agree on the proper "moral code" which we are supposed to follow? Thus we see that today's potential world leaders aren't being taught real, positive, dynamic leadership in the homes, schools and colleges, and — sad to say — not even in the churches. Why is this so? Why have the basic institutions of this world been unable to point out, with clarion voice, the true path which today's youth should follow? How come they are unable to teach the principles of true leadership to these potential world leaders? The simple truth is, few really know what leadership qualities they should be developing in today's young people. How can they teach the right qualities of true leadership when they themselves haven't learned them? A prominent educator voiced his concern about the lack of leadership in the world today. Derek Bok, president of Harvard, said: "There is a very obvious dearth of people who seem able to supply convincing answers, or even point to directions toward solutions." Not only in the United States but around the world, leaders are daily frustrated by their inability to get a handle on such world problems as nuclear proliferation, the population explosion, ever-increasing sickness and disease, shortages of food and energy, rampant crime and economic crises (especially inflation).
Pointing the Way
The real dynamics of leadership are found in the world's most widely distributed and read book — the Bible. Only here are to be found the real answers to the problems of the world. Permanent solutions to the big problems are not contained in the uninspired writings of mortal men. It is only in the Bible that mankind is shown the way he should properly order his life. Only in this Best Seller can parents, teachers and religious leaders learn the way to develop true leadership. But since the world has rejected God's ways revealed in this Book, it continues groping — stumbling along trying out its own human-devised philosophies and methods of inculcating leadership. The Bible, then, tells us what kind of character traits we must develop if we want to learn how to be leaders. But the world overlooks or totally ignores what this Book says. This world often looks upon men who have exercised great military or political power over other men as great leaders. "Might makes right!" they think. But were men like Hitler, Napoleon, Charlemagne and Alexander the Great really great men in God's eyes? Men are often called "great" who were conquerors of vast amounts of real estate. Many of the world's "greats" were butchers of thousands and even millions of people. But what is the true criterion of greatness? It is high time we looked into biblical revelation to find what God says are the character traits which we should be developing in ourselves and teaching our children.
Nearly three thousand years ago, God anointed a man to be king over Israel who really understood the essence of true leadership. King David, who proved himself to be an able administrator, was loved by his own peoples and feared by the surrounding nations. David wrote: "He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God" (II Sam. 23:3). Few realize just how much truth is contained in that statement. Those who fail to grasp this important truth (that God is to be revered with godly fear) are missing one of the most important points of leadership. None who deny the very existence of God can possibly lead their peoples in the right direction: "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity..." (Ps. 53:1). As an example of atheistic leadership, look at Communist Russia and China. Scores of millions died violently in various purges, pogroms and civil wars as Communism took over and its atheistic leaders began forcing their anti-god, communistic beliefs down the throats of their subjects. Even certain Russian leaders later repudiated their former "great" leader, Joseph Stalin. Following Stalin's death, a wide de-Stalinization program was initiated for the purpose of obliterating from the minds of the Russian people as much of the ideas and memory of Stalin as possible. And this same thing will be repeated in other countries when their leaders die — unless those leaders have really had the welfare of their peoples at heart. What is the essence of a good leader? Some say that a leader is one who can "persuade" others to follow him. But there are good and bad persuasive leaders. Countless millions blindly followed a persuasive Hitler to their shame and destruction.
Leaders Should Be Servants
Jesus Christ, the greatest leader of all time, revealed what constitutes true leadership — at least in the eyes of God. Christ said: "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men overbear them: not so with you. Whoever wants to be the great man among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of all; just as the Son of man has not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matt. 20:25-28, Moffatt translation). In the eyes of God Almighty, what makes one great is his ability to serve others. Who is the greatest Being in all the universe? God is! But why? Because He is the greatest servant. If a man wants to assume an "office" or a "position" simply because of the benefits or the prestige and glory which he will receive from holding that office, then he is not qualified to rule others. Nearly four thousand years ago, a very able leader and administrator named Moses appeared among men. To this very day he is acclaimed as one of the greatest legislators and administrators of all time. (Actually, the laws which Moses gave came from God.) Moses came to understand the essence of true leadership: "Moreover," said Moses' father-in-law, "thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such. over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: and let them judge the people at all seasons..." (Ex. 18:21, 22). Leaders should be able men, men who fear God, men of truth, and they must resist corruption through bribes — "hating covetousness." Any city or nation which has such men for its leaders will be wisely governed. One of the greatest leadership traits is that of honesty. During the recent "Watergate mess," America experienced lying, deceit and downright dishonesty in high offices. Watergate only underscored the importance of leaders always being open and honest. But it is doubtful that we have really learned this lesson.
A true leader will establish his office or his administration on truth; he will abhor deceit and lies; he will cultivate honesty and faithfulness. Jesus Christ once said: "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much" (Luke 16:10). Former U. S. President Harry S. Truman reportedly always refused to use Government stationery or stamps for strictly private matters. Would to God that we had more men in high office who were faithful in such matters — shunning all favors and bribes, and refusing to take so much as a postage stamp that didn't belong to them. America's tragic Watergate episode has taught the world that deceit and hypocrisy (and outright lying) in government can only be bad for the individual and for the nation. Jesus Christ was a frank, open, honest person at all times, "who did no sin, neither was guile [deceit] found in his mouth" (I Pet. 2:21, 22).
Another character trait of a real leader is that of humility. Notice how this was emphasized by Christ: "But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted" (Matt. 23:11, 12). Remember, a true leader is there to serve and assist his subjects — not to lord it over them in an arrogant or haughty manner, as some of this world's leaders so often do. Everyone hates conceit — at least in others. "By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life" (Prov. 22:4). No man can long bear rule unless he learns to be very assiduous. He must be alert, and must work hard. In short, he must be diligent. King Solomon wrote: "The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute" (Prov. 12:24). And, "Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men" (Prov. 22:29).
Seeking Wise Counsel
Another most important leadership characteristic is that of learning to always seek wise counsel. No man knows everything. To make wise decisions, we need to learn to get sound, broadly based counsel. Read the wisdom of Solomon, as recorded in the book of Proverbs, about obtaining wise counsel. "... In the multitude of counsellors there is safety" (11:14). "... He that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise" (12:15). "Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established" (15:22). "Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war" (20:18). Today's potential leaders must be taught the importance of seeking "wise counsel" — of getting all the input possible on every important matter before coming to a decision (Prov. 24:6). Why is it that so many parents, educators and even ministers seemingly throw up their hands in despair, saying, "I just don't have the answers"? If we will look reverently to the Word of God, we will see that it gives us the answers to the really big problems which confront modern man.
Ten Commandments Point to Solutions
Biblical revelation gives the sound, practical answers to all of man's woes. The Bible tells man how to be at peace with himself and how to live with his neighbor. The Ten Commandments reveal God's basic way of life for man. If they were obeyed by all nations, then we would have no wars, no strife, no headaches and heartaches to wrack and distort our lives. Only when man begins to look to God and His Word for the answers and solutions to all his problems will he begin to find the way out from under his mountain of woe and misery. Then man will come to understand who he is, why he was put on this earth and what his ultimate destiny (his thrilling inheritance) really is! Man must quit worshipping the false gods of "science" and materialism; and he must look to his Creator for the guidance that only God can give. Only man's Designer and Maker understands what really makes man "tick" — what man must do to be happy, healthy and successful.
Where Are We Going?
Only the Creator God can reveal to man his true life's purpose. Shortly after his "flight to the moon, Neil Armstrong addressed the U. S. Congress. He said: "In the next 20 centuries... humanity may begin to understand its most baffling mystery — where are we going? ... Man must understand his universe in order to understand his destiny." The Bible reveals that man's ultimate destiny is to achieve sonship in the divine family of God. Men are destined to become co-inheritors of the entire universe, joint-heirs of "all things" along with Jesus Christ. "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son" (Rev. 21:7). Man's ultimate destiny is mind boggling — really too great for our puny minds to fully comprehend. Fallible, corruptible, mortal man is to be made immortal, incorruptible, infallible (I Cor. 15:42-44). God will bequeath on those who overcome sin the gift of eternal life in the endless ages of eternity. Man is actually destined to become a "son" in the great spirit-composed God family. Only then shall man inherit all things. At that time, the then-made-immortal sons of God (former fallible humans) will be able to flash through the universe at the speed of thought. Man could never really explore his universe with mere physical tools. He needs to take on a new dimension. Man must receive immortality! Only then will he be qualified to rule wisely. Real leadership is learning to think and act like God. This means learning to love instead of hate. It means humility instead of pride and vanity; faith and hope instead of doubt and despair; the fear of God instead of ignorance of God; a desire to serve instead of always being served; honesty and truthfulness instead of deceit, hypocrisy and lying; impartiality instead of being a respecter of persons; diligence and not indolence. These are the real leadership traits which God is seeking in man. This is the essence of true leadership. Leaders with the real answers and solutions to life's big questions and problems can only be developed when they are taught those Godlike traits of character which will endure for all eternity.