Summary: Faithful disciples are called to participate in the civic process through elections. How do faithful disciples know who to vote for when election time comes? This sermon offers practical advice in choosing leaders wisely.
Election day, Tuesday, November 8th, is only fifty-seven days away. We’ll elect a new President of the United States, as well as U. S. Congressmen, Senators and a host of other offices in our states and communities. One of the blessings of living in the U.S. is we get to choose who leads us every four years, or two years, or six years for some offices. It behooves us to pay attention and do our due diligence in choosing those leaders because they will set the direction of our nation for the next four years, and direction matters. In the case of the next President of the United States, there is one vacant seat on the U. S. Supreme Court that he/she will fill, and the likely hood of as many of three more vacancies just in the next term. Those selections will influence the nation for the next generation.
We talk of faith and politics and our minds naturally turn to our political landscape. Ours is a most unique situation in world governance, and for that we are most grateful. But politics goes well beyond the civil government in which we live. Anywhere there are people involved, it involves politics—school, work, civic organizations, church. Church? Yes! You didn’t know there were politics in church? Politics surround us, and leaders surround us. Choosing leaders wisely is necessary in every realm of life, and the purpose of today’s message is to help us discover ways to choose those leaders wisely.
Another preface is also needed. With few exceptions, we’re all leaders. We lead our business, we lead our class, we lead our church, we lead in some level of civic organization, we lead our sports team, we lead a Sunday school class, we lead our family. As we explore the advice Jethro gave to his son-in-law, Moses, let’s listen to the characteristics and measure, not just those we are choosing to lead us in the civic realm or church realm, but also whether we are living into these traits ourselves as we lead in whatever realm we lead. It’s important because, as leadership guru John Maxwell says, everything rises or falls on leadership. It might be especially true this election cycle. The traits I note from Jethro’s advice are: humility, capability, responsibility and accountability.
As I read through Exodus 18: 13 – 27, I see four traits of strong, godly leadership as Jethro counsels Moses in his leadership of the nation of Israel. To set the context of Jethro’s conversation, it’s been just over a month since Moses led the people out of Egyptian bondage and Pharaoh’s oppression. In that time, they’ve seen God deliver them through the Red Sea, provide water from a rock and God is feeding them daily with manna and quail. They’ve also just won a military victory over a people group called the Amalekites. Jethro gets word of all God has done for Moses and the people, so he takes Moses’ wife and two sons, loads up and prepares to take them back to Moses. At some point before going down to Egypt, Moses had sent them to live with Jethro while he went off to do God’s work. Jethro arrives, they catch up on all the events since they were last together and had a party and a worship service to celebrate. The next day, Moses goes out to do what he always does…hear the complaints of the people against each other…he sits in judgment, day after day, deciding all the petty (and not-so-petty) complaints of over 600,000 men, not including women and children.