I’m coming right out with it this time: we are always waiting, wanting, longing for a messiah. That’s our problem. I should say it’s our NATURE and it’s our problem.
It’s our nature because it’s of divine wiring. It’s our problem because we will look anywhere and everywhere to fill that messiah void.
We look to boyfriends and girlfriends to be savior. We look to moms and dads, teachers, coaches, bosses and friends. Shoot, I think we look to Harry Potter to be Messiah. We obviously look to movies for that savior role, you know, that hero who overcomes the deepest darkest defeat only to stand triumphant in the end. It’s the greatest narrative ever told… you know, the story of what happened to Jesus.
And we most definitely look to Presidents to be savior Messiahs.
Since very very early on we people-all people and organized societies-have cried out for formal and informal types of savior types. It started with kings and monarchies right on into today with presidents and prime ministers.
Here is the moment right here (1 Samuel 8):
4 Finally, all the elders of Israel met at Ramah to discuss the matter with Samuel.5 “Look,” they told him, “you are now old, and your sons are not like you. Give us a king to judge us like all the other nations have.”
6 Samuel was displeased with their request and went to the Lord for guidance.7 “Do everything they say to you,” the Lord replied, “for they are rejecting me, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer. 8 Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually abandoned me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment. 9 Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about the way a king will reign over them.”
It begs the question: why did these people insist on this model, this authority structure, this person to “reign over them?”
I don’t think it’s caused by some sort of leaderless anxiety.
I think it’s birthed from a much deeper place… a place of self-preservation… a place of need and the unmet expectation of, ‘what can this person do for me, provide for me… on my time and in my way?’
And what is the model, the inevitable result of this insatiable need to have a provider, savior, messiah leader? Well it’s always the same… (just change some of the language around and input our modern examples of what follows):
11 “This is how a king will reign over you,” Samuel said. “The king will draft your sons and assign them to his chariots and his charioteers, making them run before his chariots. 12 Some will be generals and captains in his army,[a] some will be forced to plow in his fields and harvest his crops, and some will make his weapons and chariot equipment. 13 The king will take your daughters from you and force them to cook and bake and make perfumes for him. 14 He will take away the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his own officials. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and your grape harvest and distribute it among his officers and attendants. 16 He will take your male and female slaves and demand the finest of your cattle[b] and donkeys for his own use. 17 He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you will be his slaves.
-He’ll keep a standing military and command them wherever he likes (and invest tons to resource it)
-There will be a division of labor and you may not be able to control the type of job you get
-Your women will be subjugated in some way, shape or form
-The wealth will be disproportionately held in the hands of the key “stakeholders,” elites, power-brokers
-You’ll be taxed
Even against this warning the people begged and pleaded (they picketed and they marched):
19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. “Even so, we still want a king,” they said. 20 “We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle.”
-We will be like others (we’ll fit in)
–We will be judged (we will have the magistrate or ruler we desire)
-We will go to war and win wars (power, influence, land, wealth)
Now, tell me HONESTLY if you can’t see what I see when I read all this.
I read this and I remember two things:
- “There’s nothing new under the sun” (coincidently Bible again-Ecclesiastes 1:9)
- We will always be in want of a king, a president, a leader, BUT we’ll never want him because it’s what’s right. We’ll want him because it’s right for us.
It’s that last part that’s so pivotal. We want a leader insomuch as he/she will enact our laws, push our policy and fulfill our dreams.
We want a leader to bend to the will of our every desire and whim.
But really, at the core, I think what we are asking for is a savior, not a senator.
It was Sunday morning the weekend of the temporary travel ban that President Trump had enacted through executive order. After two days of reading the news I was feeling a very small iota of their burden-the grossly inconvenienced (to use a mild term) immigrants, refugees and travelers.
But you know after an hour or so I came to the conclusion: presidents are not meant to be saviors. Not any one of them at any point in history. Not Abe, Not Washington, not FDR, not Reagan, not Bush, Not Obama, not Trump.
And I came to this conclusion based on 1 single qualifier: the extent to which they are charged with giving, keeping and preserving life. And, the fact is, as a mandate of leadership, this is not the core objective of their office.
But it can be yours.
From bomb raids to travel bans, it appears evident to me that the President’s job is not to fully keep in balance the sacred nature of life or people as collateral damage.
But it can be yours.
You can appreciate, guard, protect and foster life through the way you lead.
And you can ensure that, when you leave, your legacy is not a hall laced with ‘bodies’ (emotionally and psychologically beaten and battered employees, peers and co-workers).
While none of us can be Messiah, we can save a little bit, we can guard a little bit, we can consider others above ourselves even a little bit and in this we are little saviors-called and commissioned to lead like Messiah.
Here’s the type of leader I think we are called to be:
- Humble (Above all, considers him or herself to be the lowest common denominator in the room; accurate self-awareness and carries a profound sense that “it’s not about me.”)
- Teachable (This will ensure you never stop growing. And a leader who willingly or haphazardly allows for growth to become stagnant is not a leader at all.)
- Servant-hearted (His bottom line must be the bottom lines of others-plain and simple; the greatest leaders win when all of those around them win.)
- Accountable (Understand that it’s not a power grab it’s a privilege and that privileges should always be guarded by others.)
- Multiplying (What’s inside you is worth multiplying; your greatest legacy lives beyond you because those who come after you have been developed and equipped.)