Leadership Crisis in the World
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“ When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people mourn” (Proverbs 29:2, 21st Century King James).
Fifty-six percent of respondents to the Survey on the Global Agenda agreed that the world has a leadership crisis. The major global issues of today — economic inequality and violence in the Middle East among them — have failed to be addressed effectively by most countries.
As governments have grown, factional alignment and deep corruption has kept competing countries from reaching agreement on proposed solutions. For example, in China, ninety percent of people in a Pew Survey said corruption in that country was a problem. Similar responses arose in India (83%) and in Brazil (78%), two of the fastest growing countries. As politics has developed into a career rather than a service, there have been fewer proposals developed for the long-term interest of the people. The euphemism for patchwork solutions, “kick the can down the road,” has become a common explanation by analysts reviewing the future of programs for the aged. Poverty, economic inequality, and waning natural resources have been inadequately addressed by leaders worried about their next election, or those who see their position only as a means for themselves and their cronies to live above the problems.
Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State, wrote in his memoirs, Years of Renewal: “The great statesmen of the past saw themselves as heroes who took on the burden of their societies’ painful journey from the familiar to the as yet unknown. The modern politician is less interested in being a hero than a superstar. Heroes walk alone; stars derive their status from approbation. Heroes are defined by inner values; stars by consensus. When a candidate’s views are forged in focus groups and ratified by television anchor persons, insecurity and superficiality become congenital (chronic).”
It is telling that the Survey on the Global Agenda ranked only religious leaders below government leaders. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said that religious leaders abuse their positions. With the rising trend of religious terrorism and clergy abuse, the masses are wary of trusting organized religion to provide any wisdom or guidance in addressing the issues of our day. The tendency of world leadership to postpone real problems by temporary solutions was most recently evident in the temporary fixes enacted during the financial crisis in Greece. The proposed solution for the real long-term issue has left the populous in a difficult state.
Robert Greenleaf, in his 1970 essay, “The Servant as Leader,” identified the qualities of leadership this way: “The servant-leader is servant first. … It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions.
A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people rather than the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the top of a pyramid. The servant-leader puts others first, and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.
Christ’s Millennial Reign
Jesus’ earthly ministry was one of service to others but within the context of calling them to a higher way of life (Matthew 4:19). His was a focused and dedicated ministry (Matthew 15:24). He changed people’s way of thinking through his own example (Mark 2:15-17). Meek and humble, Jesus exercised leadership, control, and even authority when it was warranted (Mark 1:23-25).
Jesus, imbued with the holy Spirit, inspired others to follow him (Matthew 8:10). The root of the word “inspiration” is “spirit.” When the holy Spirit was given to the apostles at Pentecost, their ministries became powerful and inspirational to the individual churches they founded and served through letters and personal ministry. Jesus, more than anyone else, knew the hearts of the people (Mark 12:34). Jesus helped his followers to quell the willful spirit and find peace in him. “The crowds were completely amazed at his teaching” (Mark 11:18, CEV). Jesus’ primary desire was to do God’s will and to encourage others to follow.
Jesus, a perfect human being, provided light by his own example that shone the brightest on his disciples. He inspired them and showed them the pathway through life’s difficulties, including peril, deceit, thanklessness, and service. Jesus was the greatest teacher the world has ever seen, and he led by his own example. This example became the inspiration for others to sacrifice their own lives in service to others. They, in turn, are being prepared for a greater role in the age to come. “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10).
During the current time of great trouble and difficulty in the world, Jesus has been calling and selecting his bride (Matthew 25:1-13). As soon as the bride has joined Christ in his glory (John 14:2-3), the resurrection of all who have ever lived will begin and mankind will have a true opportunity to learn righteousness, and to be raised out of sin and death, out of the weaknesses that have come to them through sin (John 5:28-29, Matthew 25:31-46). This time is defined in scripture as “Times of Restitution” — the restoration of that which was lost (Acts 3:21). The world will be brought to perfection during the thousand years of Messiah’s leadership reign.
Jesus called his followers the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13). Salt sprinkled on tainted meat will not make it pure, but will deter decomposition and mask the effect of corruption. So the true Christian’s example today can help those who are struggling with sin.
However, it is not the Church’s role to cure the world now of its corruption. The trials and testing in this age are preparing his followers to become that great Melchizedek priesthood that will lead the world out of sin in his Millennial Kingdom (Hebrews 7:11,15-17,19-22,24-28, 8:6,10-12, 9:11-15). The resurrected masses will learn righteousness through the leadership of Jesus and his Church as the glorified salt of the earth — “The men of the city said to Elisha, ‘Look, our lord, this town is well situated, as you can see, but the water is bad and the land is unproductive.’ ‘Bring me a new bowl, he said, and put salt in it.’ So they brought it to him. Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, ‘This is what the LORD says: I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.’ And the water has remained wholesome to this day according to the word Elisha had spoken” (2 Kings 2:19-22, NIV).
The use of salt by Elisha to cure the undrinkable water at Jericho illustrated how God will dispense truth in Christ’s kingdom. This truth, dispensed by the glorified Christ, channeled through the ancient worthies to Israel and then to all mankind, will cleanse the world of corruption, error, and sin, and teach the people righteousness (Isaiah 2:3).
“With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness (Isaiah 26:9).