One of the greatest needs in our country today is leadership. This is true in churches, government, business, education and every other endeavor. Without strong leadership the best anyone can expect is mediocrity. Our nation is crying for leaders worthy of following but they are hard to find. The lack of clear, strong leadership is a primary reason for the deep dissatisfaction with government. People of all political persuasions are crying for someone to stand up and cast a vision for the future. Instead, politicians are satisfied with standing around pointing fingers and assigning blame.
There are shelves filled with books about leadership but there is no better book on the subject than the Bible. It contains powerful lessons about both good and poor leadership. As one studies the characters in the Bible, one sees basic truths about leadership put into action. There are more examples than we have space. The good leaders shared three characteristics. One, they were able to see beyond what was to what could be. This does not mean that a leader does not need a full understanding of the past and the present. It does mean he/she should not live there. Look at Moses for example. He drew strength from the past but he had a vision of the future. He kept the hope of the Promise Land before the Jews, enabling them to survive for forty years in the wilderness. Throughout the history of our nation, there have been many difficult times. With every difficulty, someone has risen to the top and has helped us to see that there was something better in the future.
Two, they were willing to take risk in order to make things better. They were willing to sacrifice in the now in order to insure the future. Read the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, especially verses 38, 39. Why were these great men and women of faith willing to sacrifice so much? It was because they had a vision of the greatness that was to come. John Maxwell explains the need for sacrifice this way: “If I succeed without sacrifice, then it’s because someone who went before me made the sacrifice. If I sacrifice, and don’t see success, then someone who follows will reap success from my sacrifice.” Leaders must help people understand the risk and sacrifice of today is necessary to reach the goals for tomorrow.
Third, they had perseverance. Things do not change overnight. A leader does not change course every time the wind shifts. He sets the example and keeps his focus on the vision laid before him. Books are filled with individuals that could have given up. Instead, they viewed each problem as an opportunity for greatness. They believed and lived Galatians 6:9. It reads, “And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary” (NASB).
As God’s people, we need to pray that He will raise up men and women who fit the description above, who are willing to stand above the finger pointing, and who are willing to paint a picture of our future that motivates our people to move beyond the bickering partisan politics that has been so prevalent in recent years and to move into the future with optimism and hope.