Points to Ponder: Election season wisdom
Points to Ponder
Election season wisdom
With election day looming and inaccurate if not downright dishonest ads from both sides pummeling each other, the lack of real leadership in our nation is frightening. The only thing that's bi-partisan among our political leaders is the blame for the state of our nation. That's what made the crisis in Chile so timely for its lesson in real leadership.
Our growing national debt, high unemployment, and foreclosures feels as scary as it must have felt for the 33 miners trapped 2000 feet below the surface with no way out. Imagine the kind of panic that could have consumed them, with darkness all around, only days worth of food, and no possible way for them to dig themselves out.
They could have resigned to their fate, feasted on the emergency supplies, and figured they'd let tomorrow take care of itself. With no good ending in the foreseeable future, they could have borrowed against their few tomorrows, lived out that day, and died.
But one man, whose name most of us probably don't remember, took charge of the dark situation. He made two days' of rations stretch for two weeks until finally the rescuers could reach them with fresh provisions. That took vision. He had to project a sense of hope, to make tough decisions, and take command. It meant that he as the leader had to lead by personal example; to be the first to sacrifice, first to deny himself, and in the end, be the last to come out of that dark prison they'd been trapped in for 69 days.
During my devotions, I jotted down some "Election Season Wisdom" from Solomon. He tells of a city, surrounded by powerful forces that would soon crush its inhabitants - like the 33 miners in a 2000 feet deep hole.
"Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that same poor man. Then I said, 'Wisdom is better than strength. Nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard. Words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heard rather than the shout of a ruler of fools'" (Ecclesiastes 9:15-17).
The wisdom of one poor miner saved the lives of the others until the rescue operation could work. We need that kind of leadership from our government, but all we hear is the shout of the "rulers of fools" (both Democrat and Republican). Quiet, self-sacrificing wisdom in leadership is rooted in character. The power of character and wisdom is quiet. Ironically, the people who benefit from it in the long run may vote against it in the short term. But true wisdom isn't elected by the masses; it's enacted by the individual who has it. Its power is in its humility.
"Words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heard rather than the shout of a ruler of fools. Wisdom is better than weapons of war; but one sinner destroys much good" (Ecclesiastes 9:17-18).
During election season the mean-spirited, loud campaign battles are expensive efforts to tear down one another. Few lift up the country. Few are leaders. And one sinner, one who rises to serve his/her own ambitions, will destroy much.
In contrast, because they were all bound together in one accord for one common cause, the 33 miners strengthened each other and survived. All had to sacrifice in order to make that happen. And it was the humble, wise leaders who led first by their example of self-denial and putting the needs of the others first.
Leaders lead by example, by being the first to take the pay cut. Government workers in various jurisdictions across the nation took unpaid furlough days. Why are congressmen, the President, the governors and mayors not taking pay and benefit cuts? Millions of people have lost much or all of their retirement nest egg. People could rally around leaders who cut their own pensions, who end the luxuries their positions afford them. If they became part of what their constituents are enduring, they could lead them through tough decisions.
But that's quiet leadership and wisdom. How many will take a poll first to see if the appearance of being a self-sacrificial leader will gain votes? So few will do what's wise and right just for the sake of what is wise and right. You cannot vote for this kind of wisdom. We can't elect our way out of the dark.
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding" (Proverbs 9:10).
This wisdom comes from the ground level, it's out there among you. If that poor miner had run for election a year ago, who would think to vote for such a man? I doubt they held an election in the mine two months ago. The situation demanded wisdom. There he was taking the lead.
It's time for the people of God to be the light in these dark times. Is it you?
"For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him" (II chronicles 16:9).
Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship, 12624 Trinity Church Drive, Clear Spring, MD (1/4 mile east of Clear Spring on Rt. 40). Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 10:45am and 7:50pm, both days. www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com.