I have been reading through the Book of Proverbs, lately, and I have come across quite a number of proverbs concerning kings and rulers. One such verse that I found recently said, "If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked." (Proverbs 29:12, KJV)
Let us break this down a bit. First of all, the Book of Proverbs is to be read not as a collection of promises or sayings that are always true, but rather as wisdom which usually is true but not all the time. There are exceptions. Secondly, “a ruler” can be understood as anyone in a position of authority, not just the ones at the very top. Thirdly, servants (or “officials,” as in the ESV and NIV translations) are those who are under the authority of the ruler. So, let us change the wording of this verse a bit to make it more modern: "If a leader listens to lies, all his followers are wicked."
This caught my eye because it points to the importance of leadership and the importance of who you follow. A leader may be entertaining lies that come from another person or lies that come from within. When lies come and the leader listens, the leader has the potential to sin, which then leads him to command those under him to follow him in his sin. Again, this is a proverb. This is not a statement that is always true. It is possible for people to not follow their leaders. But in the usual case of someone following their leader, even if out of ignorance, the follower may be subject to guilt because of the leader.
Leadership is a weighty position, and it is important to follow the Lord. However, I will be the first to admit that I am a sinner. I make mistakes and I have sinful thoughts and actions. As the leader of our church, everyone in our congregation has the potential of guilt because of me.
Thanks be to God that the church is not established upon my righteousness. Jesus Christ is our leader, not me. And because of this, we can be confident that as long as we follow Christ, even if we fail, that Christ has covered our sins and will lead us forward in the right path.
In this season of nominating leadership for our church, let us think about who would be great leaders not because of experience or leadership gifts, but because of their hope in the Lord.