Time to Step Up

timetostepupGod is always tougher on leaders than He is on everyone else. The Apostle James warned his readers that they shouldn’t be too eager to be teachers, as God judges us more strictly. In the the book of Micah we read, “…Listen, you leaders of Israel! You are supposed to know right from wrong, but you are the very ones who hate good and love evil. You skin my people alive and tear the flesh from their bones…” It goes on, but I’m sure you get the point. It is a lot of responsibility being a leader.

That being said, we need God-centered leaders more than ever. Irish statesman, author and philosopher Edmund Burke famously stated hundreds of years ago, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

One of my favorite leadership authors, Robert Greenleaf, fired my spirit one day as I read in his book “Servant Leadership,

The real enemy is fuzzy thinking on the part of good intelligent vital people, and their failure to lead, and to follow servants as leaders. Too many settle for being critics and experts. There is too much intellectual wheel spinning, too much retreating into “research,” too little preparation for and willingness to undertake the hard and high-risk tasks of building better institutions in an imperfect world, too little disposition to see “the problem” as residing in here and not out there.

In short, the enemy is strong natural servants who have the potential to lead but do not lead, or who choose to follow a non-servant. They suffer. Society suffers. And so it may be in the future.

This quote cut me deeply. I have always been willing to serve the vision of others, but on that day I realized that God had also placed something inside of me that was mine alone to fulfill. Much of the reason that I was so often frustrated with those I served was not because they were bad leaders, it was simply that they didn’t understand the vision God had put inside of me. God used Robert Greenleaf to kick me toward my future. It hasn’t been easy, but I wouldn’t trade the journey or the growth for anything.

We live in challenging days. Sadly many of our leaders are not true servants at all. They are often self-absorbed, hungry for power and greedy. Greenleaf states it well, that the enemy of positive societal change are those of us who are willing to follow these kinds of leaders, those who abuse their offices and tread on people in pursuit of selfish ends.

It is time for the servants to rise up. To trade the ease of criticism for the difficult task of stepping between the power-hungry and those they would take advantage. It is time for new servant leaders to take a stand. As singer songwriter Matthew West puts it, “If not us, then who. If not me and you, right now, it’s time for us to do something.”

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