Western culture is obsessed with the idea of leading. I can’t remember how many times my teachers in high school and college talked about leadership, as if everybody was called to be a leader in every season of life. The problem is the numbers don’t add up. If everyone is a leader, then, by definition, no one is a leader. In this culture, it’s an insult to call someone “a good follower,” and any program that markets itself to followers would probably garner 0 enrollment.
What I think people sometimes mean, but rarely ever say, with the idea that “everyone should be a leader,” is more abstract. What I think they mean is that we should be leaders, ultimately, of ourselves, not passive followers of what other people say and want for us, just because they have an opinion. We should lead our mind, our heart, our emotions, our impulses, our desires, and the direction of our lives. There is no honor in submitting to society or impulsive pleasure for their own sake. In this sense, I couldn’t agree more.
Overall, and in general, however, leadership of others sucks.
Can you imagine being the president of the US–all the vitriol, abuse, and criticism that every US president receives, so much of it irrational, partisan, and hateful?
Parents and teachers struggle to lead their children. Pastors routinely battle depression having to deal with people’s nonsense on a weekly basis. And politicians and businessmen in positions of leadership adapt themselves to greater levels of stress.
There are people called to be leaders of others, but certainly not most people, and certainly not everyone.
All leaders are also followers, both of other men, and ultimately of God. Take it from David, who was an earthly king.
If I take the wings of the morningPsalm 139:9-10
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
When we submit to good leadership, our lives become easier, simpler, and happier.
For the complete archive of articles, click here.