Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ch. 13: Raising the King

"Well done, thy good and faithful servant!" This is what I hope to hear when I enter the heavenly kingdom. Of course, I'm sure that's what we ALL want to hear when our time comes, but I've never really focused that much on the rest of the verse. "You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness." (Matthew 25:23). This is the crux of being the king God has enabled us to be.
As a King, we are in charge of things, as opposed to the general lack of responsibility and/or authority found in the preceding stages. In many cases, we're in charge of people, equipment, money (i.e. budgets), or simply in charge of ourselves. With the great authority comes responsibility, as the cliche goes; and as a King we're obligated to be stewards of what God has given us.
This resonates with my current position in the Army. As a Platoon Leader, I'm in charge of about 35 Soldiers, and several thousand dollars worth of equipment (and taxpayer money, might I add!!!), so it's important for me to ensure that everything is cared for, especially the Soldiers. Although this isn't always in the forefront of my mind, like when I'm told to complete the mission, regardless of the cost (which mostly comes at the expense of those very Soldiers I'm supposed to care for). While it's easy for someone to get caught up in the authority and power that might come with being an officer in the Army, it runs contrary to Christ's commandment that we love our neighbors.
What I find most compelling during this chapter is the notion that one must be worthy of the tasking, not entitled to the "throne". I can't tell you how many people feel they are deserving of the position simply because they've been around long enough. In college, some of my fellow teammates felt they deserved to be a team captain just because they were seniors; however, they're actions didn't always correlate with their classification! Moreover, some Soldiers (both enlisted and officer) believe their time in the service warrants being in a position of power. However, I hearken back to those timeless words of Lord Acton that "power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
This dictum has been somewhat of a mantra for me, always guiding me in the direction of moderation. This is not to say that seeking power is inherently corrupt, as it's almost the opposite. In fact, we as Christians are encouraged to take on positions of authority in order to serve others; HOWEVER, we must guard against those immoral tendencies often associated with power, like pride, prejudice, isolation, contempt, and practically everything that we find in the wreckage of a fallen leader. I can think of several men, both religious and secular, who succumbed to the pressures of power and eventually compromised their integrity.
THIS IS WHAT WE SHOULD FOCUS ON. While Eldredge touches on the issues, I don't think he spends near enough time emphasizing the disaster that awaits a man who doesn't guard against these temptations. God is the one who put us in that position. We should never think we are worthy of the responsibility; yet, we must embrace the opportunity He has given us to lead. Incorruptible integrity, immense kindness, humility, generosity, and justice are attributes that the author mentions when determining a man's ability to lead (pg. 237). Furthermore, I believe there's a difference between wanting to lead and being willing to lead. While the desire to do so isn't necessarily impure, a man's willingness to take on responsibility exudes a sense of deference to God, who is ultimately in control.
Men must be willing to lead, but those who exude those characteristics mentioned by the other (and a few more he didn't) are truly worthy of the tasking. Resumes and CV's might be the most common method of determining his abilities in relation to the task, yet it's somewhat difficult to put on paper a man's submission to the ultimate sovereign authority, and how he lives that out in his day to day life. I guess in this case seeing IS believing.

1 comment:

[w] said...

Strong closing brother!! I like the "it's somewhat difficult to put on paper a man's submission".

Hit it in the heart!!