A real leader is one who serves. Are you listening, DC?

For obvious reasons I stay away from writing or sharing about politics as much as possible. Nobody every seems to agree on anything and I've yet to see a community become politically united over a few pithy social media posts. That being said, I'm gonna touch on politics a little bit today but hopefully not in the way that would label me as "that guy."

It's hard to ignore the turmoil in our country right now. We seem to add a new issue everyday to a long list of concerns that has more than enough of us wringing our hands in doubt and confusion over the future. Whether it's the health care crisis, budget concerns, or the fact that in spite of all the talk of the importance of education it still gets underfunded, there are many things which seem to be spiraling out of control.

In my teens and 20's, I considered myself a bit of a maverick concerning my political views, ready to debate with the best of them. Now, not so much. I no longer carry a party label but rather have registered myself as an "Independent" because neither side seems to fully represent my views. This way, I am free to examine a particular candidate or issue and vote my conscience without having to worry about whether or not I am betraying some kind of intrinsic loyalty. That being said, I join many of my fellow citizens in being less than dazzled over how our leaders are handling the current state of affairs in our country.

Just overhearing basic conversations, I get the idea that most of the people in America pretty much know what they want. The problem I'm seeing is that there seems to be scant communication at best between the politicians in place and the people that they represent. Sure, I've called my state and national representatives offices and voiced my concerns, but voice mail is hardly my idea of what it means to be concerned about one's constituents. Yet more than the issues are at stake in all of this. Whether or not a budget gets passed or schools get funded are important issues, but they speak of a more dire underlying void that grows deeper in the daily doings of our elected officials: A LACK OF LEADERSHIP.

Leaders lead in spite of. That's a mantra that I've been throwing around for years now. Yet this is hardly what we see in our state or our nation's capital. Leadership is such a broad term encompassing a myriad of character and personality traits, but perhaps the most crucial aspect of a good leader and one that is most often ignored is that of servant leadership. Most political leaders are in place because the will of others have put him or her there. The goal of a political leader is to serve the interest of the people, and in doing so it might mean the sacrificing of more than one personal agenda. This is the ideal but hardly the reality.

Let me give you an excellent example of what this looks like. Go back a few thousand years ago to ancient Israel where a guy named David was king. During his reign he enjoyed much success and the people loved and followed him willingly, not because he lorded his position over them but rather because he was willing to sacrifice first what he demanded of others.

David wanted to build a magnificent temple for God, yet he knew that it would not get built during his lifetime. Instead, he instructed his son and successor, Solomon, on how to build it when he became king. David worked hard to gather as many materials as possible for the construction of this beautiful edifice, but he asked for no more from the people he led than he was willing to give himself. David was fabulously wealthy, yet he had no problem donating most of his personal treasure for the project. In turn, the leaders under King David did the same. How did this affect the people of Israel?
Then the people rejoiced because of their leaders' willingness to give, for they had given all they had to the Lord with a whole heart. (1 Chronicles 29:1-9)
King David and the other leaders under him knew that if they were not willing to count the cost and give what they had, they had no business asking the people to do the same. What an amazing, novel concept that has been by-and-large lost on this generation of leaders. What if our president, senators, and congressmen were willing to do the same?

I do not know how to fix what's going on in Washington nor do I care to dive into open and hostile debate about it. But I do believe this: If those that we have elected to lead us would give as much to working together to solve the current crises as they demand from the rest of us, then these problems would be things of the past.

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