What God Does When Men Lead
- Thursday, May 22, 2008
Introduction: Where Have All the Leaders Gone?
A lot of guys I know are La-Z-Boy leaders. From our recliner-and-command post, armed with our remote, we can see precisely what the president and the coach of our favorite NFL team are doing wrong. “Where are the Abraham Lincolns .?.?. the John Kennedys .?.?. and the Tom Landrys when we need them?” we rant. “We need some guys with vision and integrity to get things back on track!”
Having said our piece, we switch channels and learn that the stock market—and thus our retirement fund—has taken a hit, which brings out our inner Warren Buffet. “If those sorry CEOs would focus on business instead of lining their pockets, we’d all be in better shape,” we blurt out between generous bites of ice cream. “Where’d they find these so-called leaders anyway—under a rock? They’re all snakes! Are there any real leaders left in the world?”
Those are fair questions that deserve some thought because the problem is obviously not a shortage of leadership candidates. Universities graduate thousands, groomed for greatness, every year. There’s an overabundance of organizational climbers, young and old, ready to do whatever it takes to grasp that next rung on the leadership ladder.
If you are concerned about the quality of leadership in our country, you’re not alone. Two-thirds of Americans believe we are experiencing a leadership crisis. Three-quarters of us worry about what will become of our nation if we don’t find better leaders soon.1
Eight out of ten Americans believe that corporate executives are less concerned with running their companies than they are with lining their own pockets.2 You don’t need an accounting degree to see that the numbers don’t add up when you compare the growth of CEO compensation with the growth rate of your investments.
The problem is not a shortage of leaders but of worthy leaders—men who want to serve rather than be served. Men who are not driven by making a name for themselves, but who want to help others succeed. Men who are willing to sacrifice personal interests for the interests of others. Men who ask where they can make the most significant contribution rather than where they can make the most money.
There is a second element to the problem as well. Although most men desire roles of greater leadership at work, many become noticeably passive when it comes to spiritual, cultural, and familial issues—causing serious and far-reaching harm. Yet male passivity is not a new problem. The Bible recounts the stories of many men—Moses, Abraham, Eli, David, Peter, and others—who chose passivity when they needed to take action. Dr. Larry Crabb pinpoints the core problem:
Since Adam, every man has had a natural inclination to remain silent when he should speak. A man is most comfortable in situations in which he knows exactly what to do. When things get confusing and scary, his insides tighten and he backs away. When life frustrates him with its maddening unpredictability, he feels the anger rise within him. And then, filled with terror and rage, he forgets God’s truth and looks out for himself. From then on, everything goes wrong. Committed only to himself, he scrambles to make his own life work. The result is what we see every day: sexual passions out of control, uninvolved husbands and fathers, angry men who love to be in the driver’s seat. And it all began when Adam refused to speak.3
Note to Male Readers
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