On Leadership III

Have you noticed there is a call to individual leadership within the Bible, and the call follows a consistent pattern?

Time after time in the Bible, God lifts up one person rather than a crowd, to lead His people. When God created a nation of His own, he did not call upon the masses to do it. He rose up one leader—Abraham. When God wanted to deliver His people out of Egypt, He didn’t appoint a committee to guide them. He rose up one leader—Moses. When it came time for God’s people to cross into the Promised Land, they followed the leadership of one man—Joshua.

Every time God has an important task to be completed, He calls a single leader to step forward, not a group. If that was the pattern of God before today, should it be any different today? Although it should not be any different today, unfortunately some people think it is. Why?

One of the things that have changed since the age of Abraham, Moses, and Joshua is our tendency today towards tolerance. Unfortunately, tolerance can paralyze leaders. Why lead people? Just invoke “tolerance” and anything becomes normalized in society--- and I mean anything. And what if Moses had been just tolerant enough to hang around Egypt? Get the picture? Is it reasonable to think God has changed His call for individual leadership?

I don’t think so.

In a difficult situation, is it reasonable to believe God no longer rises up some individuals to lead His people?

I don’t think so.

Do you see any signs that God now prefers leadership by mob, or popular opinion as expressed through the media?

I don’t think so.

So, why have we today drifted towards tolerance? Because we have drifted towards mediocrity, which is the precursor to tolerance.

Cardinal Gibbons, who when consecrated was the youngest Bishop in the world, and at his death in 1921 was the oldest, had mediocrity nailed long ago. Cardinal Gibbons said:

“The higher men climb the longer their working day. And any young man with a streak of idleness in him may better make up his mind at the beginning that mediocrity will be his lot. There are no office hours for leaders.”

We already have the Gospel message. We don’t need a new message. What we need immediately are more of the no exception, no excuse, leaders God has created to step forward and lead, first in their own household, as examples within their own family, and then beyond.

Why the sense of urgency for leaders to step forward today? This is why:


First they came for the   Jews


            And   I did not speak out –


              Because I was not a Jew.


Then they came for the   communists


            And   I did not speak out –


              Because I was not a communist.


Then they came for the   trade unionists


            And   I did not speak out –


              Because I was not a trade unionist.


                    Then they came for me –


And there was no-one left


            To   speak out for me.


Homily by Pastor Niemöller, 1938


What is today’s version of Pastor Niemoller’s homily?

First they came for the unborn

            And I did not speak out--

Because I was already born

Then they came for the infirm and elderly

And I did not speak out—

            Because I was of good health

Then they came for prayer in the schools

            And I did not speak out—

            Because I was not in school

Then they came for all God’s truth

            And I did not speak out—

            Because I was too busy

Then they came for my eternal soul

            And there was no-one left

            But the tolerant