Sometimes we must ‘follow the leader’

Published 1:48 am Saturday, October 15, 2011

I’ve often thought that my life was easier to live as a child. As a preschooler my only concerns were what colors I would use to draw, who I’d play with on the playground, and whether I could have two cookies instead of one. I trusted the teachers who led our class and learned as they taught. Often they taught us games that had lifelong applications. For example, the game “Follow the Leader.” It’s fairly easy, one person was designated the leader and the rest of the group followed that person. The designated leader had the responsibility to determine the destination, plot the course, evaluate the dangers and lead the group to the destination. That may sound a bit complicated, but it was really rather simple, the leader led and the followers followed.

Now, as an adult, what seemed to be a simple game has become a very difficult task. There are few people in our culture who are able to lead. The reason is not that there aren’t courageous men and women who have the skills to do so, on the contrary there are still many who can and would lead well. The issue is that in today’s world there are no followers. Everyone feels “entitled” to be their own leader, whether they have that designation or not.

Imagine playing the game “Follow the Leader” and everyone is the leader. There would be confusion, chaos, and nothing would be accomplished. Does that sound familiar? Please understand that I am not proposing that we follow a poor leader, history records many people who have made that mistake. Yet when we have leaders who are casting a healthy vision for our community, businesses, schools, and churches, doing their best to seek the best for us, and trying to avoid the twin dangers of apathy and complacency, we need to follow.

When considering leadership, I am reminded of one of my favorite Biblical leaders, Moses. Moses had the difficult task of leading a nation out of captivity and into a land of promise. He was selected and trained by God Himself for this role. Yet, as he led the Hebrews through the wilderness he was constantly plagued with gripes, grumbling, and complaints. Although he was God’s appointed leader, a generation of Hebrews (and Moses himself) failed to enter the land of promise because the people were unwilling to follow.

Imagine what we could accomplish, if as healthy leaders are leading, we were willing to follow. Imagine what we could do together if we were to raise our hands to help, instead of raising our voices to object. We have solid healthy leadership in our community, now is the time for us to do our part and follow. If there are changes in direction needed or dangers discovered, let’s work with our leaders to address and correct them. Yet even then, if we aren’t the leader then our role is to follow.

Dr. Fred W. Karthaus III