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California State Senate Chambers. (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe)

The Way of Leadership 

Work hard with all your might. Discern what is right. Be content and be thankful.

By Mike Morrell, June 4, 2024 11:00 am

Bestselling books, television programs, websites, articles, and training seminars have much to say about leadership. Additionally, most churchgoers are familiar with the New Testament concept of “one body with many parts.” A few leaders act as the “head,” while many others fill the essential roles of eyes, hands, feet, and so on. I believe this analogy for interdependent leaders and followers is extremely relevant in the secular sphere. In life, we quickly learn that some are weak, while some are strong: we are born with equal value but with varying degrees of aptitude and talent. If only some are made to be leaders, however, then each ambitious person must ask, Am I cut out for leadership?

One mark of a born leader is high-minded motives. All too often, I’ve witnessed unhealthy greed and pride drive people into business and politics. As the Apostle Paul cautioned, “Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” Some have ruined their marriages, dismantled their reputation, and strayed from their own principles just to climb the proverbial ladder. Money and power, however, are no more than empty promises when we pursue them for their own sakes. A leader’s life purpose is found in doing good. Will you use your wealth and influence to open doors, to disciple your employees, to teach your children a worth ethic? Will you seek justice and mercy? If you model honesty, wisdom, industry, and charity to those under you, you will have the true reward of watching people become better versions of themselves.

Another sure sign of leadership is sheer determination. Consider the career of Winston Churchill, who stands as a colossus in our collective memory. How many people know that he lost his first bid for Parliament in 1899? After climbing the political hierarchy, he lost his position in World War I. Then he worked his way back up to the heights of British government, only to find himself put out of power in his fifties. Churchill got back up again and again and became the prime minister when his country needed him most. Despite all that he accomplished during the Second World War, he was thrown out of power two months after Germany surrendered. Churchill fought back, and once again became Prime Minister six years later. Winston Churchill was never a man to crumble under criticism.

True leaders are not immune from temptation. In the ancient world we find King David, who let his eyes stray from his life mission and became an adulterer, deceiver, and murderer. Today, we see too many middle-aged executives leave their wives for younger women, the kind who only love them for their money. If you hold any position of prominence, remember: there will always be enemies to expose the chinks in your armor. They will delight in your fall, whether through infidelity, corruption, shady financials, or substance abuse. So be on your guard. Power brings opportunities for both great good and great evil. 

Leadership involves untold risks and responsibilities. You can expect plenty of tension and blame and little praise. If you are one of the few built for this, go for it. For me, that meant serving in the California State Senate with over one million constituents. I was able to speak to thousands of people, making the case for limited constitutional government, morality, and family values. I was privileged to speak with over 12,000 pastors, men of integrity and influence, throughout the United States. Never wanting to squander these opportunities, I always tried to choose my words carefully while seeking God’s guidance. I believe in the wisdom of I Peter 5:6: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.”  

 To the rising young leaders in our nation today, I can offer no greater advice than this: Work hard with all your might. Discern what is right. Be content and be thankful. 

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2 thoughts on “The Way of Leadership 

  1. Appreciated this fine and necessary column about what constitutes leadership; its requirements and its pitfalls, at this difficult time.

  2. Too bad he’s still not in office… the State could use MANY more like him with his worldview & perspectives….
    Instead, we get grifters, cheaters and liars….

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