We are living in an interesting year, especially in the area of politics. However, the attitude that I see has not drastically changed, but perhaps became a little louder than before. We possess an attitude of distain for leadership, looking for ways to judge and condemn, seeking stories that show each leader has not only made fatal mistakes, but has extremely detrimental character flaws. (Side Note: this is one reason why it is important for New Testament Christians to read the Old Testament…for example, you might want to read through 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings…or you can study those books with us at GracePointe Church next year!)
It seems that just like hunting season, we have open season on our governmental leaders, and I do believe this attitude spills over into the church. I wonder if you have a favorite elder and a “not favorite” elder? If your church has multiple staff, do you have a favorite minister? We do…if we really think about. But what makes a person qualified, whether a governmental or ecclesiastical or occupational leader, to be labelled a “favorite?” Is it because they agree with our positions? Is it because they say “yes" to our ideas? Or is it because the push us to be better? Is it because they challenge us to think, see, and feel a different way? You see, I am convinced that the current attitude toward leadership, even in churches in my circles, is not a healthy or a biblically informed view. Consequently, it seems to be normal to make jokes, criticize, and cast leaders away as uninformed idiots…yet the bible, written through hundreds of years of monarchy where people didn’t choose their leader, calls us to bring our leaders to God. In fact, during this Advent season, we need to hear the words of Psalm 72:
1 Give your love of justice to the king, O God,
and righteousness to the king’s son.
2 Help him judge your people in the right way;
let the poor always be treated fairly.
3 May the mountains yield prosperity for all,
and may the hills be fruitful.
4 Help him to defend the poor,
to rescue the children of the needy,
and to crush their oppressors.
5 May they fear you as long as the sun shines,
as long as the moon remains in the sky.
6 May the king’s rule be refreshing like spring rain on freshly cut grass,
like the showers that water the earth.
7 May all the godly flourish during his reign.
May there be abundant prosperity until the moon is no more.
Let me ask you to do something. Remember when I asked you about favorites? Well, I would like for you to pray this prayer over one of your “not favorite” leaders. The leader may be an elder or deacon at your church…maybe a minister or pastor…maybe a president-elect…you get the idea. Replace the words “king” and “him” with a NAME of someone you need to be praying for and I would ask you not to just cringe through it one time, but make it a routine in the month of December. Why should we do this? Well, because when we respect our leaders enough to take their names before the throne of God, then God is worshipped and glorified. But also, we become invested in the success or failure of this leader which connects us to the leader in way that lives out the biblical views of fellowship, spiritual giftedness, and humilty too. Listen to the close of the same Psalm:
18 Praise the Lord God, the God of Israel,
who alone does such wonderful things.
19 Praise his glorious name forever!
Let the whole earth be filled with his glory.
Amen and amen!
You see, our leaders have a choice to allow God to “do such wonderful things” through their decisions, policies, and relationships. Our leaders have the option to block or to open up the world to be “filled with His glory.” This is true of the church mostly, but it can also be true of world governments and not just the Untied States of America. So, pray boldly and often, and refrain from wishing that God would work among us while discrediting our leaders. God works through godly leadership, and our prayers should indicate to our God that we want faithful leadership before us.
I want to share thoughts, insights, and scriptures that lead us in the direction of Christ.