I read a really interesting story of a poor woman who came to her king and asked for compensation for the loss of some property.
“How did you lose the property?” asked the monarch.
“I fell asleep and a robber entered my dwelling”, she replied.
“Why did you fall asleep?” the king asked.
“I fell asleep because I believed that you were awake.”
The king’s response was to compensate the woman for the trust she invested in him.
I wonder if any of us could fall asleep under the leadership we experience in 2018, whether from bishops, principals, chairmen, captains or state and federal politicians.
I was given pause recently, when asked if I knew of any current world leader whose integrity seems to inspire confidence. The person who asked my opinion trotted out a list of local and foreign leaders that nations must not sleep under and the list seemed endless and depressing. Thankfully I was not included, though it did give me cause for some self-reflection.
You know you have come to a sad point in leadership when the constituency can’t sleep. Rest for our communities can only be found when the object of our trust is reliable. An absent leader, an acquiescing leader, a compromised leader, an immoral leader, a manipulated leader or a silenced leader makes for nightmares. When politicians we vote for act in bitterness to undermine the party they leave behind, our trust is betrayed. When politicians are silenced by their compromised lifestyles then it will not be surprising that robbers will enter and steal what is precious. When leaders snipe across the pages of Hansards and look only to ruin their opposition then those they represent must keep their eyes wide open. When failed leaders maintain popularity in the polls then it might be that it’s not just leadership that is rotten at the core.
When boardroom chairpersons can’t be trusted, when captains of industry only see their bottom line, when managers and principals, captains and CEO’s lose sight of their responsibilities, then, in the vacuum such leadership leaves, there arises noisy minorities hell bent on self-interest that should never let us sleep. When leaders hide what should be exposed, when a husband or a wife breaches faith or a parent doesn’t keep their promises to their children, then we live in an age when you need to be careful about closing your eyes. We live in an age that is desperate to hear responsible prophets speak out and call such leadership to account.
The Psalmist in the Bible said in Psalm 121, “I look to the hills from where shall my help come from?” It’s a great question in a world where leadership at almost every level of society is compromised by sin. The Psalmist answered his own question, “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” The Psalmist’s own experience of God led to him saying to us, “God will not allow your foot to slip; your Protector will not slumber…” That word “Protector” carries the idea of one who watches over, a keeper and guardian, who, while we may sleep, He never does.
That is comforting for those who want to sleep in an age where leadership is questionable. God will compensate the trust we place in Him. To those in leadership it is also worth remembering that God does not slumber. He is watching and he will exact a judgement on those who fail their responsibilities in leadership. Let those in the church, those in the media and all those who want to sleep look to the God who never does. Let us demand of our leaders that which is worthy of respect. We look to one who would lay down his life on a cross for others so that even those who sleep in death might rise to new life.
God give us leaders to trust and admire! Amen.