To change the world, we are going to need leaders.
This isn’t a pleasant truth: leaders often end up being partial failures, to some extent or other. Be it Noah being drunk, King David murdering a loyal soldier to get that man’s wife, Luther & Calvin’s decision to place the fears and favours of the Ruling Nobles over the Law of God, there always ends up a fly in the ointment, some vinegar in the wine.
Even so: the work must be done. And there must be someone who goes first, who leads the people, who directs the troops. I am suspicious of leaders, but they are necessary in warfare. They can be quite useful, so long as the followers knows when to ignore the leader, when to ditch the leader, when to defy the leader.1
God demands that His people be kings and priests. And, seeing the abject incompetence of our overlords both secular and religious, we are going to have to learn how to do the job ourselves. Or at least begin to do so, in our own communities and neighbourhoods, towns and businesses.
The goal is to start as an elected dogcatcher, as a servant who is there, and is reliable, and can be trusted. Earn your way up. To be a good leader, start as a good servant.
Expanding the Kingdom isn’t going to happen with government funding: the ugly, long-dead dusty husks of Europe’s tax-funded churches has made that clear.
There is quite a lot of good material available for the Christian interested in starting his own business. Normally, I would point to the free material at garynorth.com (sadly, the valuable forums are now locked away indefinitely). But I have recently discovered the book Doing Business God’s Way (formerly Almighty and Sons): the GeoStrategic website on Business Leadership looks to be of value as well.
Note that the actual providing of money to widows and orphans, anti-drug and debt assistance to the needy, mutual-assistance homeschooling networks, as well as nonpartisan political groups and blogs, keeping an eye on local town & county politics (and MANY other things not mentioned now!) should remain an organizationally separate & independent charities.
Below is essentially a cut-n-paste of the first chunk of Gary North’s first chapter in his recent book Leadership.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you.
Before beginning my assessment of how this verse is central to Christian leadership, I will parse it.
Seek first (hierarchy of values: point 2) the kingdom (civilization: point 5) of God (sovereignty: point 1) and his righteousness (ethics: point 3), and all these things (positive sanctions: point 4) will be given to you.
The five points of the biblical covenant are powerful analytical tools. They let us understand Bible passages in ways that most commentators ignore.
Jesus assigned this lifetime mission to His listeners within a context: the providence of God. The world is not random. God is in control. He has structured causation to extend His kingdom,
Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink—or about your body, what you will wear. For is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds in the air. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns, but your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they are? Which one of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his lifespan? Why are you anxious about clothing? Think about the lilies in the fields, how they grow. They do not work, and they do not spin cloth. Yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. If God so clothes the grass in the fields, which exists today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious and say, “What will we eat?” or, “What will we drink?” or, “What clothes will we wear?” For the Gentiles search for these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you. Therefore, do not be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day has enough evil of its own (Matthew 6:25–34).
The conclusion is crucial for the completion of the mis- sion: “Therefore, do not be anxious for tomorrow, for tomor- row will be anxious for itself. Each day has enough evil of its own.” This describes the psychology of the ideal Christian leader: a highly long-term planner with highly short-term fears.
The first pillar of biblical leadership is an application of point 1 of the biblical covenant model: the sovereignty of God. It is therefore inescapably theocentric. While the uni- verse is theocentic, and therefore all of the pillars of leader- ship are theocentric, the first pillar is uniquely, foundation- ally theocentric. Second, because God is a Trinity, the first pillar is therefore uniquely, foundationally Trinitarian.
The essence of leadership is decision-making. The con- text of decision-making is always a mission, meaning an as- signment from a superior. The source of this mission is God the Father. It is His kingdom. He has delegated to cove- nant-keepers the task of building His kingdom. This is the New Testament’s modification of the original dominion cove- nant: God’s delegation of authority to mankind to subdue the earth (Genesis 1:26–28).
All of life is a mission from God: point 2 of the biblical covenant model: dominion. This lifetime mission is a series of missions. This is why there is no escape from leadership. There is therefore no escape from decision-making. Institutional decision-making is almost always representative: decisions made judicially on behalf of others. This representation began with Adam (Genesis 2–3). It culminates with Christ (1 Corinthians 15:12–28). All mankind is represented judicially before God by either Adam or Christ. Representation is point 2.
What is the Christian’s primary lifetime mission? That is to say, what is the defining mission? Matthew 6:33 reveals it. It binds every Christian who is old enough to make binding decisions. Jesus imposed this obligation on everyone. He still does. It is not optional. He does not expect covenant-breakers to obey it. He requires covenant-keepers to obey it: advancing the kingdom of God. This is an earthly kingdom as well as an eter- nal kingdom. How do we know this? Because the blessings are historical. There is historical cause and effect. It is grounded in ethics: point 3 of the biblical covenant model. We are required by God to seek “his righteousness.” This system of ethical causation undergirds the mission of the church, which is also the mission of every professing Christian. The fact that there is a pattern of ethics-based historical causation designed by God and enforced by God should give courage to every cove- nant-keeper in every challenge in life. He knows that if he does the right thing, God will back him up. God is his protector.
Causation is not random. It surely is not based on God’s long-term rewarding of covenant-breaking. The historical “playing field” is tilted in favor of obedience to God’s ethics. Psalm 37 is clear on this.
Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked people. For the arms of the wicked people will be broken, but the Lord supports the righteous people. The Lord watches over the blameless day by day, and their heritage will be forever. They will not be ashamed when times are bad. When famine comes, they will have enough to eat. But evil men will perish. The Lord’s enemies will be like the glory of the pastures; they will be consumed and disappear in the smoke. The wicked person borrows but does not repay, but the righteous person is generous and gives. Those who are blessed by God will inherit the land; those who are cursed by him will be cut off. It is by the Lord that a man’s steps are established, the man whose way is commendable in God’s sight. Though he stumbles, he will not fall down, for the Lord is holding him with his hand. I was young and now am old; I have never seen the righteous person abandoned or his children begging for bread (Psalm 37:16–25).
What does all this have to do with leadership? This: establishing the Christian leader’s confidence in the ethical pattern of history. Christian leaders can and should risk more for the sake of God’s cause, meaning His kingdom and His righteousness, because the world is not level. The covenant-keeping leader has an advantage. His enemies, who are God’s enemies, operate at a disadvantage. This should give him courage. Every leader needs courage. Courage is the willingness to bear without complaint the uncertainties of life. More than this: a leader should be ready to bear added uncertainties for the sake of the mission. He should be ready to volunteer to take on extra responsibilities that his superior does not expect him to accept, ask him to accept, or pay him to accept.
Basic to every form of institutional leadership are two mis- sions. One is individual. The other is institutional. Institutions have missions. God holds every institution responsible for adhering to its delegated mission. He imposes sanctions, positive or negative, on institutions in terms of their adherence to their missions. Here is a representative example of corporate judgment. Ezekiel wrote: “So you, son of man, prophesy and say, ‘The Lord God says this to the people of Ammon concerning their coming disgrace: A sword, a sword is drawn! It is sharpened for the slaughter in order to devour, so it will be like lightning’” (Ezekiel 21:28). God therefore holds leaders especially responsible for adhering to the institutional mission. However, in contrast to individuals, institutions are not brought under God’s eternal sanctions on judgment day (Matthew 25:31–46).
When a Christian’s lifetime mission correlates closely with his temporary institutional mission, he has a far greater likelihood of being successful than if the two missions are not closely related. This is true in the three institutional covenants: family, church, and state. This is also true in all non-covenantal institutions, most notably business.
A covenantal institution is marked by a public mutual oath. This oath is between two or more people. What makes a covenantal oath unique is that God is a party to this oath. He is the Enforcer. A non-covenantal oath in some cases may be lawfully be enforced by the civil government as a representative of God, but the oath-breaker may not suffer direct God-imposed negative sanctions. God takes covenantal oaths far more seriously than contracts.
Jesus came to them and spoke to them and said, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations. Baptize them into the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey all the things that I have commanded you. See, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18–20).
This is known in Christian circles as the Great Commission. Jesus issued it to the disciples as individuals, but He also issued it to the institutional church. The Great Commission rests on this assertion: “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.” This is a cosmic declaration. It applies to heaven and earth.
To understand the Great Commission, we first must have the biblical answer to this question: “On what legal basis did Jesus announce His authority?” There are two issues involved: creation and redemption. Jesus is both the Creator and the Redeemer.
The New Testament repeatedly announces that Jesus, in His capacity as God, created the universe.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This one was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him there was not one thing made that has been made (John 1:1–3).
Yet for us there is only one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we live, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things exist, and through whom we exist (1 Corinthians 8:6).
In his Son we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. The Son is the image of the invisible God. He is the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, those in the heav- ens and those on the earth, the visible and the invisible things. Whether thrones or dominions or governments or authorities, all things were created by him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together (Colossians 1:14–17).
Long ago God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in many ways. But in these last days, he has spoken to us through a Son, whom he appointed to be the heir of all things. It is through him that God also made the universe (Hebrews 1:1–2).
Consider a few of the implications of these statements. Jesus Christ, the incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity, and also in His legal capacity as a perfect man, has issued a commission to His followers, meaning those individuals who have been judicially redeemed—bought back—by His perfect life, His death on the cross, and His resurrection from the dead. This includes you.
This is the Person who created the universe. Think about this. There are supposedly 200 million galaxies. Other estimates place this at two billion. Each galaxy, we are told by astronomers, has about a hundred million stars. This indicates the immensity of the universe. But this is just getting started with respect to the complexity of the universe. The stars are composed of atoms. I don’t know how many atoms are in your typical star, but it must be a lot. Then there are all those sub-atomic particles—or are they waves?—that com- pose each atom. They are all held together, Paul assured us, by this Person. “He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16). And He has given you a commission.
How seriously should you take this commission? (Note: rhetorical question.)
Jesus announced the Great Commission after His resurrection. He was speaking as a perfect man. Why had He waited to announce this? Why had He not announced this at the beginning of His ministry? Because He had not completed His mission of redemption. That mission was completed only at the resurrection: His perfect life, sacrificial death, and resurrection. Having completed His mission, He assigned the Great Commission to His followers.
Do you have any doubts about your ability to fulfil this commission? I don’t mean your willingness to fulfill it. I also don’t mean your judgment in assessing how it applies day to day, year to year, decade to decade to your thoughts and actions. I mean your ability. Are you lacking something crucial? Do you plan to respond on the day of judgment that you were not given sufficient resources? Has God provided you with second-rate tools? This was the response of Adam and Eve. “The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate it.’ The Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent lied to me, and I ate’” (Genesis 3:12–13). This judicial defense did not work as they had hoped. It also did not work as their covenantal sons and daughters would have hoped.
You have been issued a commission. You have responsibilities associated with this task. They may be minimal responsibilities today, but as you work on your calling, you will become more skilled. You will be able to take on more responsibilities. As long as you are capable of performing your existing assignment, you should take on even more tasks until you have reached the limits of your capabilities. Your model should be Caleb.
“I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy on the land. I brought him a re- port again as it was in my heart to make. But my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear. But I completely followed the Lord my God. Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has walked will be an inheritance for you and for your children forever, because you have completely followed the Lord my God.’ Now, look! The Lord has kept me alive these forty-five years, just as he said— from the time when the Lord spoke this word to Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness. Now, look! I am this day eighty- five years old. I am still as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me out. My strength is now as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming. Now therefore give me this hill country, which the Lord promised me on that day. For you heard on that day that the Anakim [giants] were there with great fortified cities. It may be that Yahweh will be with me and that I will drive them out, just as the Lord said” (Joshua 14:7–12).
From the days immediately after the exodus, Caleb had wanted to fulfill God’s mission for Israel: conquer the land of Canaan. He had recommended military action as soon as he had returned from spying the land (Numbers 14:6–9). He was overruled by the representatives of Israel. So, he had to wait for 45 years because the cowardly generation of the exodus had to die off: God’s curse on them (Numbers 14:29). Now, all but Joshua were dead. Caleb was ready to pick up where he had left off 45 years earlier. He had not hesitated then. He did not hesitate now.
You are allowed to hesitate while you are spying out the land. However, when you are sure that it is time to move forward in extending your narrow segment of the mission, the time for hesitating is over. You must take action. Begin now.
Write down three aspects of life in your town that are in need of reform by God’s grace through God’s people.
I love that action step: “three aspects of life in your town”. Or neighbourhood, if you are in a major urban area.
Don’t worry about the Galactic Empire. Don’t even worry about the State government.
It may well be that you stay small: that’s perfectly OK, and in most cases desirable.
But actually help people, to grow and prosper physically, mentally and spiritually.
Especially the weak and the helpless.
In time and on earth.
1And that’s the problem: no so much leaders per se — “sinners will be sinners” — but the great willingness of the masses to just ditch all their responsibility at the feet of the Great Man as if he was some kind of shining mini-god. As illustrated by just how quickly Congress gave up her powers to the President — even her war powers — and how much power both the President and Congress are willing to put at the feed of unelected, and unaccountable, bureaucrats.
The Christians of America (who had a strong hand in electing these cowards) really, really need to start rising to adulthood, to being kings and priests, and ditch their revolt from maturity… and accountability.
We don’t only need great leaders: we also need great followers. Followers who know when the Leader has crossed the line — violated the commandments of God — and refuse to follow when it matters.
Not dutifully obey as they have always done, and then whine “We didn’t know! We didn’t know!” long after it’s too late to do anything about the damage.
The greater the gift, the greater the reward for success… and the harsher the punishment for failure. Whether we like it or not, we Christians in America have been given great gifts. And, if we have finally grown tired of being kicked in the head, we must actually repent, understand that there is no mystical escape from the battlefield, and get serious about learning to WIN.
In time and on earth.