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So You Want to be a Leader?

By David Brandt Berg, December 1970
A leader agonizing before his people

THE DRAMATIC, CLIMACTIC ACTION IN THE LIVES OF LEADERS SUCH AS LENIN IS WHAT REALLY DRAWS THE ATTENTION OF THE WORLD and has the greatest popular appeal--such as his dangerous close calls and his activities in leading the revolution--his being smuggled into Russia in a sealed boxcar by the Germans to help overthrow the Czarist Regime! This is exciting stuff that people like to hear. Most people are not interested in the years he spent in exile poring day and night over books, studying the TACTICS of revolution and PLANNING its battles! In fact, it actually took him more years to PLAN the revolution and ENGINEER its battle plans, than it did to actually wage the war! It took Lenin years to analyse and plan his procedures--compared to only the few days it took to carry them out! It also took years of planning and engineering to consolidate the revolution afterward!

THESE DRAMATIC ACTION SCENES ARE ONLY LITTLE OUTCROPPINGS OF THE TREMENDOUS ICEBERG UNDERNEATH THE SURFACE--just little bubbles of the big pot that has been brewing underneath for a long time. But that's what people look at--that's all the public sees!

NEARLY EVERY GREAT BUILDING, EVERY GREAT ACCOMPLISHMENT, EVERY GREAT WAR, EVERY GREAT MOVEMENT TOOK YEARS OF PLANNING and LABORIOUS ENGINEERING. It's the invisible--below the surface, long hard hours and days and weeks and months, and sometimes years of planning, and the slow laying of the foundation that's the hardest part, takes the most time, and for which you get the least credit--but without which there would never be a building and it would never stand.

THAT'S REALLY THE WAY IT IS WITH MOST THINGS IN LIFE, WE DON'T BEGIN TO APPRECIATE THE YEARS OF UNSEEN LABOUR and INVENTION BEHIND THEM, which was only learned through the experience and planning of years, discoveries and inventions and trials and errors, successes and failures, and joys and heartbreaks of generations--all the unseen handiwork, time, thought and labour behind one pair of pants! We just see it, buy it, wear it and don't worry about it! But it took somebody or a lot of somebodies years of time and thought and invention and discovery and labour to produce it.

EVERY BIT OF FOOD WE EAT, THE CLOTHING WE WEAR, THE BUILDINGS WE LIVE IN, the vehicles we travel in and even all the little tiny necessities of everyday life are just the brief and temporary visible end products of generations of thought, invention, discovery, experimentation, designing, planning and producing by a World of labourers with a World of labour. "We have entered into other men's labours and reaped that on which we bestowed no labour." "One planteth, another watereth; but it is God that giveth the increase."

GOD'S BEHIND-THE-SCENE LABOURS ARE ALMOST TOTALLY INVISIBLE--the work of creation that produced the universe and keeps it running, His design and plan for Man, His constant care for His creations from the realm of the Spirit, that behind-the-scenes workshop where God actually does most of His labour. "Set not, therefore, your affections on things on the Earth, for the things which are SEEN are TEMPORAL"--only temporary, only the slightly visible manifestation of all the unseen work behind them--"but the things which are NOT seen are ETERNAL"--the spiritual World which produced them, the power and planning of God! You don't even know how He did it. All you do is enjoy it! You can't even comprehend it! All you do is consume it!

EVEN SO, WITH THE CREATION OF A NEW NATION, A WAR, A REFORMATION OR A REVOLUTION--or any major change in history!--SOMEBODY had to dream of it before it could happen! Some body had to have the inspiration, the vision, the faith, the ingenuity, the genius, the spark that kindled the fire! You only see the FIRE--and thrill and marvel at its glory! You don't see the work and planning behind it--the problems in gathering materials, figuring out how to start it and keep it going!

YOU USED TO LOOK AT A BIG BUSINESS and WISH YOU WERE THE BOSS, to enjoy the glory and the riches, and to get to tell other people what to do! But you'd have been better to work your eight hours and not worry, lest some day you be boss and work at ALL hours, and have ALL the worry! Because you couldn't possibly see all the problems, the difficulties, the obstacles, the troubles, the complications behind it--how hard it is to know what to do, to make decisions and to tell other people how to do it--and to be willing to take the blame for the failures, as well as credit for the successes!--Because possessions, employees, businesses and governments are much more responsibility than enjoyment, much more hard work than pleasure.

YOU'D BETTER ENJOY BEING A BUCK PRIVATE WHILE YOU CAN--with very little worry or responsibility, credit or blame, cursing or fame. One of these days you may be the general and have most of the work and nearly all the worry--and usually, all the blame! You look at your leaders and you think, "My, I'd like to be like him or her! I wish I had their position." Watch out! Some day you MAY have and wish you HADN'T but HAVE to! You couldn't begin to fathom the depths of despair, the heartbreaks, trials, tribulations, the bitter experiences, the fires of testing they had to go through to make them the pure gold they are today, the white-hot heat of the furnace they had to endure before they became the lovely colourful ceramic that they now are!

DON'T ASK FOR LEADERSHIP! DON'T EVEN DESIRE IT! You don't know what you're asking for! Don't try to be a leader--unless God shoves you into it--and you HAVE to be! Just be a good follower and be thankful that you don't HAVE to do the leading, make the decisions, carry the burden of the responsibility and suffer the blame! You don't realise how much goes into leadership!--The years of the school of hard knocks, years of experience, trial and error, success and failure, suffering and tribulation--the years of following, obedience and training, the vast work of the Spirit, the innumerable lessons, the grades you had to take over again, the demotions as well as the promotions, the failures as well as the accomplishments, the blame as well as the fame, the unseen labour, the unrealised thought, the hours, days, weeks, months and years of prayerful planning, the blood, the sweat, the tears, the agony with the ecstasy--all that goes into the making of a leader!

LEADERS ARE MADE--NOT BORN! They're the brief and final end product of God's infinite care, designing and preparation!--Here today--and gone tomorrow! "For what is your life? It's but a vapour! It's here a little while and then it's gone." It takes so long to grow into the full bloom, the full fruit of leadership--so that your actual brief span of leadership is short by comparison to the years of preparation!

DON'T ENVY YOUR LEADERS!--PITY THEM!--PRAY FOR THEM!-HELP THEM! They need you! And don't desire leadership--unless God FORCES it on you! I dare say you'll not find a leader in the Bible who WANTED to be a leader! Most of them tried to get OUT of the job! It takes too long--it's too hard--and you'll never get enough credit for it! But without them, God's Work can't go on!

JUST APPRECIATE THE END PRODUCT! Enjoy it! Follow it! Obey it! And help it! And be thankful YOU don't have to be one, until God MAKES you! Nearly every great leader in the Bible had to be PUSHED into it! Only in the folly of this World do men fight each other for fickle fame and fortune! Only in the sickening system of this World, do men struggle for power, position, riches and glory--only to find that it doesn't satisfy!

WHAT A PITIFUL END PRODUCT ARE THE MEN OF THIS WORLD-and even the Christians who fail God! At least God's leaders, who pay the same price and make the same sacrifices, can look forward to eternal rewards and everlasting glory and can die with a feeling of genuine permanent accomplishment from a lifetime of investment in His Work, that will reap eternal dividends hereafter!

BUT YOU'LL NEVER KNOW WHAT THEY WENT THROUGH TO GET THERE--until you've gone through it yourself. And nobody in his right mind would ever do it for anybody but God and His children! Most of your work is unseen and will never be known by anybody but God and you, and perhaps a few of those closest to you. Most of your sufferings, your sacrifices and your years of labour will never be appreciated in this life, nor realised by others until the rewards are handed out in Heaven, and the medals are pinned on at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb and the cities are distributed in the Millennium.

YOU SAY, "LORD, WE ARE ABLE."--BUT YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE ASKING FOR! Just thank God for your leaders and hope you never have to BE one! Don't TRY to be a leader unless you HAVE to be! Don't desire leadership, unless God makes you lead--unless the time comes when you see the job that has to be done and there is nobody else to do it but you and you know you HAVE to do it!--It's God's will, God's plan, and you're ready--even if you don't feel like it!--Ready by the long preparation, planning, designing and making of a man by the hand of God.

WE ARE GOD'S EXPENDABLES!--CREATED TO BURN OUT ON HIS ALTAR OF SACRIFICE--made to wear out as His tools of design--to die, that you might live. For "no greater love hath any man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." We "die daily." We can only offer you an invitation to come and die with us--to die to the flesh that ye may live in the Spirit!

AFTER YEARS IN THE MAKING, PREPARATION and PLANNING, YOU MAY ONLY BE A BRIEF FLARE which lights up the landscape for but a moment in the heat of battle, that the victory may be won!--But that lifetime of preparation is worth it all--even if for only that "moment of truth" and recognition by the Lord--that moment of usefulness that you were designed for--that day when you stood in the gap--that hour when you met the need--that time when you fulfilled your mission.--And you can hear His "Well done, thou good and faithful servant! Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!" All this and Heaven too!

YOU'LL NEVER APPRECIATE YOUR LEADERS TILL YOU HAVE TO JOIN THEM IN LEADERSHIP! You'll probably never fully appreciate God until we join Him in Glory and see what it really cost Him!--How much time it took, what infinite care and love and patience.--How much unseen labour went into the end product--little old insignificant you and me! Do you STILL want to be a leader?

Copyright © 1998 by The Family International

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James Arendt
James Arendt

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