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. John Maxwell said, “An organization can not rise above its level of leadership.” The primary reason that there is deep dissatisfaction with government on all levels is the lack of clear, strong leadership. 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 is no better book on leadership than the Bible. As one studies the characters in the Bible, one sees basic truths about leadership put into action. Whether it is Moses, Joshua, David, Ezra, Peter, Paul or countless other characters there are at least three characteristics that they shared.
One, a leader is able to see beyond what is to what can be. This does not mean that a leader doesn’t have a full understanding of the past and the present. It does mean he/she is not willing to stay there. Look back over the history of our nation. There have been many difficult times. We have not always done things the correct way. With every difficulty, someone has risen to the top and has helped us to see that there was something better in the future. It was the vision of the Promised Land that kept the Jews going for forty years in the wilderness but it was Moses who kept this vision in front of the people.
Two, a leader is willing to take risk to make things better. He is willing to sacrifice in the now in order to insure the future. Maxwell said, “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.” 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. Leaders understand that the risk and sacrifice of today is necessary to reach the goals for tomorrow.
Third, a leader has 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.