— By LOU TISCIONE
The fundamental issue in the church is leadership. Church history testifies to the essential need for godly leadership. Likewise, the church in the Old Testament experienced the disasters associated with ungodly leadership. Current events have led me to observe the principle that what is true is true for all. That is, biblical truth not only applies to believers but all people are subject to the word of God.
The Bible has much to say concerning leadership. Both testaments contain God’s principles for godly leadership. The Apostle Paul gave instructions to both Timothy and Titus concerning the critical nature of selecting men to lead local churches.
Perhaps the most striking example of God’s revealed principles for leaders is Exodus 18:21: “Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.”
God revealed these principles through Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro. Jethro observed Moses’ leadership of the people of Israel and told him that what he was doing would wear him out. Jethro recommended that Moses find men who would be able to lead the people with him.
Jethro gave four characteristics of the kind of men Moses should select. Here are the four characteristics given by Jethro to Moses: able, God fearers, trustworthy and those who hated bribery. Each of these characteristics requires further explanation.
First, he should choose men from among the people. That is, those chosen should be recognized by the people as men who have a history of accomplishing assigned tasks. We can understand this as men who had resumés of accomplishments that demonstrated their abilities. Note that they should be chosen from among the people. That is, Jethro intended that their resumes could be verified as genuine. These men were known to the people whom they served.
“Able” is translated from the root word that means a rampart, or fortress. In other words, the able man is a man of strong character in whom people trust to provide protection.
A God-fearer is a genuine believer. A man who fears God is a humble man. Fearing God includes trembling, awe and worship. A man who fears God knows both intellectually and intimately that God is holy, sovereign and the one who is full of majesty. This man has a right assessment of himself before God, which is the definition of humility.
Thirdly, trustworthy men are men who love the truth. These are men of integrity and faithfulness. As Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount, “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” (Matthew 5:37)
It is surely obvious that for one to love the truth, one must acknowledge that there is absolute truth. A man who loves the truth is not a relativist who changes his mind because of peer pressure or one who lacks principles by which a lover of truth lives his life.
Fourthly, a leader is a man who does not covet. He hates bribery. Not only will he not be bribed, he will not attempt to bribe anyone else to get what he wants. This is a leader who stands against those who constantly covet what others have. This leader finds his satisfaction in God, enjoying what God has provided to him.
These are the kind of men God calls to lead His church. These are likewise the kind of people who we do well to recognize to lead our Country. These are the kind of men and women we look to for leadership in our communities, in military service and wherever groups of people are called to move in unity to accomplish anything.
Where are the leaders? They are in our midst. They are able, God fearing, trustworthy and honest.
All things are from God. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17)
Biblical leadership is not excluded from this principle. God has provided the church with capable men, God-fearing men, trustworthy men and those who hate bribery. May we recognize them and follow them for the glory of God. Also, may we use this revelation of leadership to guide us in electing those who seek governmental office.
Lou Tiscione is pastor of Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA).