The Right Man For The Job
October 29, 2000 | Ray Pritchard
(This sermon was given by Bob Boerman, Pastor of Family Ministries.)
It was Aesop in 550 BC, who said,
“We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to office.”
I can see you cynic’s smiling! While it’s true that many thieves live in Washington, there remains a godly remnant of men and women of serve in our U.S. Capitol. Contrary to popular opinion, all are not thieves.
How do I know this to be true?
In September, Jean and I were invited to participate in a Pastor’s Congressional Briefing at our Capitol in Washington, DC. The Briefing was set for Wednesday, the 13th but we flew out on Sunday afternoon so we could take in a few politically correct tours before Wednesday’s Briefing.
What do I mean by PC Tours? Well, for example, take a tour of Supreme Court Building and you will see a large mural of Moses painted on the wall, above the Supreme Court Bench. In Moses’ hands are two tablets, which we all know are the 10 Commandments, right? Well, if you take the tour, your guide will either say nothing or tell you that Moses is holding a copy of the Bill of Rights in his hands.
Funny, I never realized that the Bill of Rights was written in Hebrew!!!
On Wednesday, 80 other ministers and I had the privilege of meeting with a number of Congressional leaders and as the day went on, I became more and more excited to discover that a great number of them have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
For example, during the day… I learned that over 130 Congressional leaders meet for Bible study and prayer each week on Capitol Hill. In 1990, the number was only 10 or 15. I also became aware of the great number of Christian’s who are taking jobs as aids on Capitol Hill. At the end of the day, Congressman Joe Pitt’s, pleaded that I pass on the following message to you.
“Please tell your people to avoid two extremes. First, tell them to avoid the extreme of keeping their Christianity out of Politics. Second, tell them to avoid the opposite extreme of looking to the government for their salvation. Salvation is thru Christ, not the government.”
He then ended with,
“There is a balance somewhere in the middle. Our faith should impact every aspect of life, even politics. Beg them to pray for us.”
This morning I have a simple goal. I hope to show you that Christ has much to say concerning the realm of politics, right down to the selection of those who rule.
Ask the typical American what they look for in a candidate, and you will get a wide variety of responses. Some look to see if he has a “Presidential Appearance.” They ask, “Is he tall, dark and handsome?” Others look at his “likeability.”
Still, others look to see how well he debates. Stumbling, mumbling, and fumbling, along with sighing and rolling of the eyes during a debate, are big “no, no’s.”
Even more, judge a candidate by his stance on issues such as abortion, Social Security, foreign policy, ecology, and civil unions; since everyone is interested in the bottom line question of…”What’s in it for me?”
And if all else fails, we ask, “Is he a Democrat, a Republican, or Libertarian?” We do this because it is very hard to leave the party of our parent’s choice and it is the easiest way to make the decision.
Well, this morning I want to throw one more presidential question into the mix; a question that should rise to the top of the heap. It is a question not found on the lips of many today. The Question?
God’s Leadership Qualifications
Qualification #1- God is looking for leaders who fear Him.
“You shall select out of all the people able men who fear God…”
Psalm 2 reiterates the same idea…
“Now therefore, O Kings, show discernment; Take warning O judges of the earth. Worship the Lord with reverence, and rejoice with trembling.
Do homage to the Son…”
Did you notice the words, reverence, trembling, fear and homage in the verses I just read? In the Hebrew, these words convey the idea of leaders having an “exceeding dread of the Almighty” which comes as a result of realizing that they will one-day answer to Him. They are leaders who understand that God holds them to a higher standard of accountability.
John Adams, our Nations 2nd President, understood this kind of fear. He knew all too well, how easy it is to comprise when in office. What kept him from doing it?
“Such compromises…of my honor, my conscience, my friends, my country, my God, as the Scriptures inform us must be punished with nothing less than Hell fire, eternal torment…that I cannot prevail upon myself to think of [compromise]. The duration of future punishment terrifies me.”
The Works of John Adams, 2nd President of the United States, 1851
Why is a fear of the Almighty so important?
#1- The “fear of God” safeguards leaders from an inordinate “fear of people.”
“He who kneels before God can stand before anyone.”
#2- The fear of God leads to great wisdom.
The Scriptures say, “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.” Today we hear a lot of talk about how smart or dumb a candidate is. Intelligence is fine but wisdom is better. How are the two different? Intelligence speaks to how much a person knows; while wisdom addresses the proper usage of that knowledge.
#3- The fear of God keeps leaders from becoming arrogant. It helps them
remember that they are but “Ministers of God” sent to do His bidding.
Let me sum up this qualification, with the words of Founding Father, James Madison…
“Before any man can be considered a member [leader] of civil society, he must be considered as a subject to the Governor of the Universe.”
Application: So, as you look at a candidate, examine their beliefs. Look deeply into what they say about the Almighty. If he says he is a Christian, “Does he walk the talk?” Is he arrogant or humble? Do his campaign promises come from Focus Groups or from deep-seated convictions of right and wrong?
These are not easy questions to answer but they must be answered, none-the-less.
What else does God look for?
Qualification#2- God is looking for leaders that are truthful.
Exodus 18:21 says,
“…select out of all the people…men of truth…”
In the Hebrew, the word “truth” can be translated as “verity” or “trustworthiness.”
Notice, the passage doesn’t say, “Do they tell the truth?” Instead, the passage says, “Are they men of truth?” I believe there is a big difference between “telling the truth” and being “men of truth.” The first focuses on “what the person does.” The second focuses on “who the person is.”
Contrary to popular opinion, God commands us to look at the personal / private world of a potential leader. As we look at a Candidates personal world, God wants us to ask questions like, does he keep his word? Do his personal stories hold “verity?” Is he genuine, or fake? Does his life ooze truth or do we just get a drop of it every now and then? Does he understand what the word, “is,” is?
Our challenge? Vote for the one who shows the greatest amount of personal integrity and trustworthiness.
Let’s move on to the last qualification…
Qualification #3- God is looking for leaders who hate dishonest
Let’s look one last time at Exodus 18:21…
“Therefore, you shall select out of all the people able men…
who hate dishonest gain.”
Soft Money…Campaign Finance Reform…The Lincoln Bedroom…Chinese Financial Donations…White House “Coffees”, are all familiar phrases this campaign season. All, speak to the issue of “dishonest gain” mentioned in Exodus 18:21.
The phrase, “Dishonest Gain,” speaks to the one’s wealth and how it was achieved. The phrase literally means to “profit unjustly.” Therefore, God is instructing Moses to look for leaders who have not profited at the expense of others.
Reverend Chandler Robbins, addressed “profiting unjustly”, in a sermon he preached before Governor elect, John Hancock in 1791.
“How constantly do we find it inculcated in the sacred writings, that rulers be ‘just men—fearers of God—haters of covetousness.’ That they ‘shake their hands from holding bribes,’ because, ‘a gift blindeth the eyes of the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous.’
Chandler Adams, May 25th Election Sermon, 1791
Let me make a few points.
1. God isn’t against leaders who are wealthy.
Some would have you believe that being wealthy is a sin but it isn’t.
2. God is against the leader who gained his wealth in an unjust manner.
3. God wants us to elect individuals who will fight against those who profit unjustly.
So as you examine the lives of those running for office, ask yourself, “Does he shake his hand from taking a bribe?” “Has he earned his money fairly?” etc.
God’s 3 Qualifications
1. Does he have a fear of the Almighty?
2. Is he a man of truth?
3. Does he hate dishonest gain?
If a man meets these 3 simple, but profound qualifications, the rest will fall in line.
Let me end this morning with…
A Couple Needed Questions
Has any candidate ever risen to this standard? And what do you do when it seems that there is no easy choice?
These questions aren’t new since the people we elect to office, are human.
On February 7th, 1801, Abigail Adams wrote a letter to her sister discussing the upcoming election between Aaron Burr, known to be an irreligious man, and Thomas Jefferson, a religious man but an unbeliever.
Speaking to this, Abigail told her sister:
“Never were a people placed in more difficult circumstances than the virtuous part of our countrymen are at the present crisis. I have turned, and turned, and overturned in my mind at various times the merits and demerits of the two candidates. Long acquaintance, private friendship and the full belief that the private character of [Jefferson] is much purer than [Burr]…inclines me to [Jefferson]. Have we any claim to the favor and protection of Providence when we have against warning admonition and advice chosen as our chief Magistrate a man who makes no pretensions to the belief of an all wise supreme Governor of the World?…If we ever saw a day of darkness,
I fear this is one.”
Letters of Abigail Adams, 1788-1801
I wonder what she would write if she were alive today?!!
Did we elect a God-fearing man?
The following words are inscribed on Jefferson’s Memorial.
“Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just;
that His justice cannot sleep forever.”
Some Closing Advice
1. Find the person that most closely resembles God’s Qualifications.
2. Dig for the truth.
Christianity Today Articles
Internet Resource Sheets- There are many helpful articles on the Internet.
Forget the news, and commercials.
3. Get their books and read them, Earth in the Balance and A Charge to
4. Pray, make a choice and vote!
I end this morning’s sermon with some words of caution that Founding Father, Noah Webster, gave to his students in 1832. Words, we should heed today.
“When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed upon your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, ‘just men who rule in the fear of God.’…if the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office,
the government will soon be corrupted.”
Noah Webster, The History of the United States, 1832
God is looking for leaders who fear Him, who love the truth and hate dishonest gain. May the same be true of us.