Raise your hand if you think we expect too much of our so-called leaders? For those of you who raised your hands – figuratively speaking, of course – ask yourselves, “How much is too much?” Is expecting a leader to be perfect “too much” to ask? How about honest? Dependable? Trustworthy? Sincere? Resolute? Just? Where do you draw the line, so to speak? What will you not tolerate in a leader? How much are you willing to tolerate, and why? Can I tell you what I think – “Of course you can, Kevin, it’s your blog!” Great! Thanks! Personally, I think we set the bar far too low these days and, if I’m correct, the obvious question is “Why would we do such a thing?”
I think the answer lies in our priorities – the things we value. Are we talking about a set of standards? I think we are. Ask yourself this: “If I was to offer my child care services to a stranger, how would I convince them to trust me with their loved one?” Perhaps the best way to answer that question is to reverse roles – put yourself in their shoes and view it from the customer’s perspective.
Before I would entrust my child to a stranger, I would want to get to know them. You wouldn’t just say, “Oh, look, a daycare center. See you later sweetheart!” At least, I hope you wouldn’t. So you vet the service provider. I would want to know everything – and, I mean, everything. “Okay,” you say, “well, what, exactly, do you want to know?” Hey, I’m asking the questions here, but I’ll play along (insert winking face emoji). Here are just a few questions I would want answered. How long have they been in business (experience)? How are they rated by the Better Business Bureau (credibility)? Who else has used and continues to use their services (endorsement)? What are their policies, and what safety and security provisions do they have in place (plan)? Do they guarantee their services – quality assurance (accountability)? By now, I’m sure you see where I’m going with this. We, as voters, are customers – potential clients – seeking a leader in whom we can trust.
As voters, we must apply no less scrutiny in identifying a suitable leader to serve at our nation’s highest post. But, do we? For me, the answer is a resounding “no” – relatively speaking. Rather than expect the same standard – remember the high bar we set before the child care provider – we acquiesce when it comes to choosing leaders. We won’t settle for a “lesser of two evils” when it comes to child care, but when electing a president…? Well, you say, “What choice do we have?” Really? That again? I’ll tell you what choice you have, raise the durn bar! We cannot blame leaders for their failures, when we half-heartedly enter the booth, if at all, and cast our ballot, repeatedly electing questionable leaders to office.
Now, no one in their right mind expects a leader to be perfect, so can we honestly expect a child care provider to be perfect? No, yet we demand it. Well, I say, demand more from your leaders. Why wouldn’t we? It just doesn’t make sense, does it? Perhaps, it does.
My analogy above assumes you, the reader, ‘can relate’ because you, yourself, have children. But, what about those of you who don’t. Do you feel the same sense of urgency a parent does regarding who you might leave your child with one day? Maybe. Maybe not. If not, it’s likely because you don’t feel you have a “stake in it,” or a “dog in the fight.” Consequently, you might not care quite as much. This is the same thing that causes voters to become disengaged.
Friends, you do have a stake in it. You do have a vote, and your vote matters. Your thoughtful, educated, even prayerful vote, that is – because it’s equally imperative you know who and what to vote for – or against. Again, this goes back to vetting.
So, I imagine you are growing weary of reading and may be wondering, “What in the world does any of this have to do with ‘He With Whom I Dine.’” Quite fair.
While, I have alluded to many of the attributes I look for in a leader, I’ve yet to tell you who I would have lead me. Well, I will only be led by he or she who is worthy of my followership. Yes, followership is a word – I just made it so. All jokes aside, I boast not in arrogance, rather in jest. But, I digress.
Actually, I strive, daily, to be a humble servant – that, which I consider the most essential prerequisite for any leader. I sincerely believe no man, nor woman will ever truly measure up as a leader if he or she is unable to serve, humbly and unconditionally, those they seek to lead. Quite frankly, no one of this earth is fully “worthy” of my followership, nor I, theirs. (I’m certain that raised a brow or two.) Oh sure, I have voted for many a candidate and have expected them, upon assuming office, to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Yet, inevitably it seems, they ultimately disappoint. Of course they disappoint, because they are incapable of achieving perfection. So, should we just pick up our toys and go home?
No, it means we stop looking around for leaders and become one. What a concept, right? Why focus on searching for leaders when we can take steps to become the leaders we desire and encourage others to do the same, even mentor them? You on board? Okay, great. So, now we need a model, right? Well, I just so happen to have one.
Have you ever thought about who, if you had the chance to meet, you would most desire to have a cup of coffee with, or dine with? I have, quite often. When I was younger, I so wanted to meet Eddie Murray. He was my favorite active baseball player at the time. I would have given anything – at least, I said I would – to get to talk baseball with him over a fine meal. Later, it was Kirk Gibson. Then, Margaret Thatcher. So many people I will never meet, but I sure wanted to. Who would you choose? Dr. Martin Luther King? Amelia Earhart? Abraham Lincoln? Albert Einstein? The list is never-ending, and I’m sure you would have a difficult time choosing. My choice, these days, is quite simple. There’s only One I would like to dine with – my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Is there a finer model? I know some, perhaps many of you do not yet know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, but even if you never do (and I very much pray you will) can anyone provide viable objection to my argument He set the highest example anyone man or woman could ever aspire to?
I would – will – follow Jesus wherever He leads. He is the epitome of the servant leader – worthy, indeed, of my followership. And, He is right outside your door. Did you know that? “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20)
Yes, friends, I dine with Jesus. I follow Jesus. He leads me, and I follow. He set the leadership standard – a gold standard, if you will – for each of us. If we aspire to be like Christ, we will make for great leaders in our time and many will follow Him as we have. Moreover, while it is true we must not judge others, we must hold ourselves and our leaders to account. As Jesus instructed His Disciples, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant…” (Matthew 20: 25-26)
Follow Jesus. Invite Him in and dine with Him. Lead by example.