My Kind of President
Today is election day. We have a unique privilege. Within most organizations—business and otherwise—you don’t get to vote on your leadership. At least the employees are not choosing the top brass.
In elections, however, voters actually choose who will be the next “leader of the free world.” It may seem like a dream job for those who aspire to take it. Once the weight of the position takes hold, the heavy burdens of leading a divided land and worldly unrest begin to take their toll.
I don’t recall this, but apparently Al Gore commented while campaigning in 2000 that running for the presidency was like interviewing for a job. Dr. Jim Thrasher, coordinator of the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College in Pennsylvania, ponders that in saying, “Suppose our current candidates were put through their paces in an extensive job interview conducted by corporate America. How would they do?”
That caused me to think about how this election would have been different if we had an executive search firm involved. Executive search firms specialize in recruitment services to find top-level candidates for senior, executive, or other highly specialized positions for clients. They conduct detailed interviews and then selectively present candidates to their clients.
In our local church’s current search for a new pastor, we have now employed a retired pastor in this role. He’s doing the interviews and the screening of candidates. You don’t get past him if you want the job.
And make no mistake on this, a pastor has to understand and be effective at leadership. Think about it. As one fellow noted, church leaders do not have the authority of military leaders. There are no “financial incentives” of the corporate world. Most of the workforce they lead are volunteers! And one thing is for sure, that pastor or paid church leader better show up as a person of character.
Dr. Thrasher, in his recent posting titled, “Donald or Hillary: You’re Hired?” explains how it works with job recruiters that come to his campus. He notes, “These recruiters try to discern the vocational calling of the interviewees by comparing the aptitude and characteristics of each candidate with the core competencies and qualities which that company needs in a successful employee. The qualities that companies look for in potential employees are the same foundational ones that voters should look for in presidential candidates.” Interesting. http://www.visionandvalues.org/2016/11/donald-or-hillary-youre-hired/
And what exactly are the most significant qualities? Dr Thrasher lists the 12 “must-have” character traits of deserving job candidates.
- Strong moral character and integrity
- Leadership by example
- Committed work ethic
- Articulate communication skills
- Humility and accountability
- Teachable spirit
- Willingness to learn
- Courage to do the right thing
- Self-control and self-discipline
He challenges us by asking, “Isn’t it reasonable that our presidential candidates likewise should be expected to possess (these qualifications)?” Good readers will have been processing this list with our two currently leading presidential candidates in mind. How did they fare in your mind?
One of the most significant challenges of an American leader is maintaining our position of strength in the world. This is often captured in the phrase “peace through strength.” It is said that the Roman Emperor Hadrian (AD 76-138) was quoted saying it this way, “peace through strength or, failing that, peace through threat.” He does have a point.
The Bible says it somewhat differently. Proverbs 14:28 reads, “Rulers of powerful nations are held in honor; rulers of weak nations are nothing at all.”(CEV) Keeping our people safe is one of the most legitimate assignments of our government. My kind of president understands that.
A healthy minded leader of the free world also quickly realizes he is overmatched to solve all problems. He needs excellent team members, wise and discerning for good counsel. Proverbs 15:22 claims, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” (NIV) My kind of president only brings in counselors who have a passion for integrity.
The Message, a Bible paraphrase, points out two more very significant mindset models for leaders. First, from Proverbs 16:10: “A good leader motivates, doesn’t mislead, doesn’t exploit.” Two verses later, we find “Good leaders abhor wrongdoing of all kinds; sound leadership has a moral foundation.” (Proverbs 16:12, MSG) My kind of president isn’t a manipulator. There is a sense of straight forward communication at all times. And that moral foundation is a must.
Evil will always be seeking a way to rob our nation of health. Being firm with lawbreakers is a biblical premise. “A wise king sorts out the evil people, and he punishes them as they deserve.” (Proverbs 20:26, NCV) My kind of president wants righteousness to prevail.
Finally, any good leader needs encouragement. He or she must find the words that most nurture the spirit. It is in these quiet times that hope is regenerated. My kind of president knows where to find those words. A good place to turn would be the Psalms, many of which were written by Israel’s King David who saw many a difficult day.
It is King David who reminds us still today,
The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul.
The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living.
Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever.
The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair.
They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold.
They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.
They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them.
(Psalm 19:7-11, NLT)
King David put aside the love of power for the love of the All Powerful.
That’s my kind of president. Where is that person?