By Will Baker
“You’ve got to learn to crawl before you can walk.” –Anonymous.
That cute little baby in the picture can’t even crawl yet. She is just learning to push herself up with her arms. The most important part of the picture, though, is her eyes. They show determination and focus. It would be a lot easier to just roll.
Because she’s a baby that determination and focus are funneled into this specific, difficult, action. As we grow we leave those funnels behind. Our free will gives us the opportunity to choose the difficult or the easy.
Leadership is hard.
Domination is easy.
Christian leadership requires submission.
Worldly leadership requires domination.
Paul’s words are easily mistaken as a call for domination.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
8 I desire, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument
It’s a seductive thought, as a man, to skip over the parts where Paul is speaking directly to me. Because they require effort and submission on my part. To jump straight to the part where I get to put somebody in their place but that’s not Christianity, much less leadership.
And so we abandon Paul’s call to Christian leadership for the easy and seductive allure of domination. We heavy-handedly tell our family members, friends and coworkers what to do and how to do it; rather than modeling it for them. We try to walk before we learn to crawl and we make fools of ourselves and our faith in the process. We try to teach when we have refused to be taught. This leads to violence and anger. It is not the christian way.
Paul’s call on myself here is that I be a person of peace. Not a man of anger or argument. If that is my focus God will influence people through me in incredible ways. After all, to be a person of peace, not argument or anger is far more work than we would like to admit.
P.S. If you read this passage closely you’ll find everyone is called to be a leader. No one gets a pass.