I watch too much Fox News. It is non-stop political chatter day in and day out—but I am hooked. The pundits and talking heads have been deliberating this coming election since the last election—and before. The discussion has been hot and heavy for months, and will only become much more intense as the weeks count down until the big day in November. Every once and a while I get fed up with it all and swear off watching so much news—for a day or two—but then I am right back at it. I know I am much too emotionally invested. Most of what I hear is downright depressing. If I didn’t know that God is ultimately in control and working it all out, I would be in a sad, sad state.
And it’s not just Fox News, either. I’ve been watching the Presidential Debates—all the debates, and all the commentary and interviews afterwards ad nauseam. This election year is so very important to the future of our nation, but sadly the process that is unfolding seems to resemble a three ring circus more than a serious, crucial decision that will affect us all. I get it that people are angry, actually furious, and frustrated with Washington—all three branches of government and both parties—and with good reason. But whatever happened to plain old civility? Three ring circus? More like a slug fest that would put the WWE to shame.
These are men and women who are vying to be President of the United States of America—the most powerful position in not only our nation, but in the world. When they act like children, when they lie, when they put self before anything else, when they stray from the foundational truths and values that have made this country the greatest on earth and the greatest in history, it makes one question where are the leadership qualities we expect in a leader? Where is the maturity, the honesty, the selflessness, the moral character?
My grandson Joshua called me yesterday. He was writing a paper about his dad and wanted to “interview” me for my opinions about his father’s leadership qualities. I was honored that Joshua would come to me—after all, I am his dad’s mother-in-law, and you know what they say about mothers-in-law! God has blessed me with two wonderful sons-in-law, though, and Joshua knows how much I love, admire and respect his dad. As I pondered his questions I began to think about the qualities that, in my opinion, make a good leader. Better yet, what makes a godly leader?
Humility. A great leader does not seek the limelight for himself, but does not fail to step forward when action is needed. He recognizes that a true leader must also be a servant. The good of others, rather than self, comes first in the selfless leader. Jesus was the example for us. Philippians 2:5-8 says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Confidence. A true leader is not boastful or proud, but has confidence in God’s Word for guidance, and faith in God to help him through whatever it is that he has to do. A godly leader recognizes that he must have wisdom to lead and does not lean on his own understanding, but seeks that wisdom from God. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5)
Dependability. A good leader is disciplined and determined. He always does his very best and fulfills his commitments to the best of his ability no matter what. Luke 16:10 says, “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.”
Strength. A godly leader remains true to his convictions no matter the opposition, and focused on the goal no matter the obstacles. His strength comes from God. Isaiah 40:28-31 says,“ Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Philippians 4:13 reminds us, “ I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.”
Courage. A leader does not seek confrontation or create conflict, but when necessary he has the courage to say and do what is necessary. His courage and steadfastness inspires trust and courage in others. Joshua was a strong and courageous leader. The Lord told him, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Because of his courage and faith in God, Joshua was a strong leader for the Israelites and led them into the Promised Land.
A role model. A true leader leads by example. He does not ask of others that which he is unwilling to do himself. Jesus himself was our role model. He said in John 13:13-16, “You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet, For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him.” The character qualities of a godly leader—goodness, kindness, patience, generosity, selflessness, humility, faithfulness—earn him the respect and admiration of all who know him. Paul told the young pastor Timothy, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (I Timothy 4:12)
I would love to believe our next President would be a born-again, Bible believing Christian. There are two or three in the race who profess to be that. Only God can judge their hearts. And whether or not a godly man will win the White House, only God knows. The Bible tells us it is He who raises up kings and brings them down again (Daniel 2:21) and if he chooses to allow an ungodly man to be our next leader, well, I can only think it has to be His judgment upon us and moving His plan forward for this world. Whether or not we get a Christian in the White House, is it too much to hope we will get at least a good leader of moral character? After all the name-calling, lying, mud-slinging and false promises that have been flying about thick and heavy, I am beginning to wonder. Comparing our list of character qualities to the candidates who are before us, does anyone measure up?
And as for us, how do we measure up? If God puts us in a leadership position, whether it be in the home, at a job, with children, or at church, what kind of leader are we? A godly leader is a follower first—a follower of God. Jesus called his disciples to ultimately be leaders, but first He said, “Follow me.” Character matters, wherever God places us in life. Let our character always be one that is an example to others and brings glory to God.