One of the most quotable writers of the twentieth century was John Kenneth Galbraith. To this day, his astute observations consistently provoke thought and discussion. Let me share one of his thoughts with you:
These are the days when men of all social disciplines and all political faiths seek the comfortable and the accepted; when the man of controversy is looked upon as a disturbing influence; when originality is taken to be a mark of instability; and when, in minor modification of the scriptural parable, the bland lead the bland. (J. K. Galbraith, The Affluent Society)
How up-to-date this statement sounds! How true of our generation! Now let me tell you the surprising part: it was published nearly four decades ago!
If “these days” have continued for four decades, then here is one reason for the scarcity of leadership in our world today. Leaders do not surface among flocks of sheep or schools of fish. Leaders are men and women who, without reluctance, embrace change and controversy. Original thinking and new truths hold no fear for them. To paraphrase Galbraith, they are ready and willing to heave anchor from the rocks of nonsense and launch out into the troubled seas of thought.
Few in our day of mediocrity and blandness willingly stand out from the herd.
Few readily risk the stones of criticism and ridicule we so willingly heap upon those with the spirituality, intelligence and guts to step out in front.
Where are the women like Deborah, Esther, and Lydia?
Where are the men like Joshua, Gideon, and Epaphroditus?
Where are leaders of the stripe of Stone, Lipscomb, and Fanning?
Where do we find replacements for Cline Paden, Reuel Lemmons and Jimmy Lovell?
I speak of men and women who refuse to be categorized or placed in someone’s camp. They will not consent to parroting some party’s accepted positions for sake of acceptance. They reject compromising integrity in order to remain viable on some faction’s lectureship circuit. They have one allegiance only: the gospel and kingdom of our Lord, Jesus Christ. God give us leaders such as this!