Leadership is tough. You are subject to the whims and emotions of people and barraged with information in an attempt to find the truth and forge a course of action. There's a price to be paid if you want to be a leader, and I discuss that at length on my Leaders on Leadership podcast.
Political leadership is not only tough, but it’s dirty. My father quipped that the word ‘politics’ was Greek; 'poli' means many and 'tics' means bloodsuckers. All joking aside, we pray for our political leaders at all levels. It is not a job many of us would ever step into, even if our livelihoods depended on it.
Which brings me to the question I have heard more in the past two years than in all my years combined: Where are the tremendous leaders? Our nation is in crisis, our health is under attack, and our Constitution is being shredded. Our global economy is sinking, and all because of poor leadership rooted in the need for power.
I have the answer to why this is happening! And it’s the same reason this has happened throughout the history of humankind! There are many openings for leaders from all walks of life, from CEO to School Board Chair, Teacher, or Preacher. The real question is, who’s going to step up to the plate and accept the mantel of leadership.
So when we lament, where have all the leaders gone? The answer is simple. They are still around; they opted not to step into a leadership role. Let's look at the parable of the brambles found in Judges 9:7-15. As a context, the story was about Abimelech, a man who failed to be great. He ended up killing all 70 of his brothers and engaging in a reign of brutality and oppression for three years. He stepped in to lead when Gideon's 70 other sons all declined the position. Sound familiar in today’s context?
After this murderous act, Jotham stood on the hill and cried out to the leaders a parable of the trees. The trees were searching for a leader to rule over them. The olive tree declined because it did not want to leave its abundance. The fig tree said no because it did not want to leave its sweetness and fruit. The vine rejected the position because it brought good cheer to God and men. In short, each of these prospective Presidents who were successful in their own right producing abundant resources did not want to leave their present success. Finally, the bramble said yes. The bramble was not only worthless, but its thorns were harmful. Yet that is who got appointed Ruler of the Trees! How did that happen?
It happened because the productive members of the land were too busy being…well productive. Or maybe they did not want to deal with the headaches that come with being in charge, like getting doxed or having an email from 15 years ago surface and get them canceled, or having their families vilified when they dine out.
In today's work, who on earth would want to rule? But listen up, tremendous trees, we need you to say yes to any opportunity to step up. Because if you don’t, the ones that shouldn’t be in positions of leadership will be the ones who will end up ruling over us. They are more than happy to play power politics and step into the spotlight. Proof positive of this is the rating of our Congress.
The good news is the brambles eventually get destroyed by their kind. In the end, good always wins. God is a God of mercy and justice. But it is hell on earth until that happens, so if you are disgusted with people in positions of power, it’s time for you to step into the light. Life is thorny enough without brambles for bosses. Say yes to the request to sit on a board. Run for your local office. Step into the role because otherwise, the unworthy will fill the seat and ruin the goodness of all. We need you in 2022. Come, let us all lead together and make the world a tremendous place!