We all know it’s Christmas. Just look around and you can easily see its December.
But guess what else is going on right now? End-of-year political promises from our elected leaders. Just check out your inbox, blog feed, radio, TV, or the Internet and you’ll eventually see or hear headlines guaranteeing tax cuts, increased income, more jobs, Middle East peace, affordable healthcare, an immigration solution, less violence, and safer work places. It’s as if, in December, our leaders become a national Santa Claus, gift wrapping well-intentioned ideas in the hopes we’ll believe they can solve our every problem. Do they—or us—really believe a human is the ultimate answer to the mess we’re in?
That’s no different than what the people in Samaria and Jerusalem were experiencing during the time of Micah and the reign of three kings. They were sure the answer to their real needs was wrapped up in a man – a human leader. But that type of thinking was—and is—a fallacy, and Micah attacks this fallacy head-on in chapter 3. He shows them that …
- The kings were cannibalistic (3:2-3)
- The priests and false prophets were materialistic (3:5)
- Their authority was duplistic (3:9-11)
Undoubtedly, the system was broken (3:11). Oh, the price of poor leadership! Everyone suffered because everyone was surfacy! People were thinking that a man was the answer – and the men were enjoying that type of praise – but nothing could be further from the truth. It was a fallacy to think that their real needs could be met by a mere man.
Here’s that same fallacy in today’s political terms: “Vote for me, and I’ll make sure your economy is better, wages are high and expenses low, I’ll cut taxes and still increase services, provide perfect healthcare, and keep your social security perfectly safe.” Really?!
In today’s church terms, here’s the same fallacy: “As your pastors, we’ll make sure the music is never too loud (or too soft), it’s never too hot (or too cold), you’re never on the spot (but never left out), it’s not too large (or too small)…” Get the picture? Again, really?!
You see, leaders are men at best; but at best, they’re still men. And because of that, men can never really provide what we really need. They can help us with what we temporarily need, but never with our real needs. In fact, I’ve noticed that man-made leadership and God-ordained leadership is often a contrast between what is temporary and what is permanent; what is short-term and what is long-term; what is immediate and what is eternal. Truly, the test of leadership is this: can we get people thinking beyond today? Make no mistake – that’s what real leaders need to do and how they need to lead!
The “beyond today” goal is summed up in one name: Jesus. Micah does exactly this in chapters 4-5 when he points them to the shepherd from Bethlehem. He was the only one who could provide all they needed. Yep, all!
And the Good Shepherd is the only one who can provide all we need. So as leaders, especially at Christmas, let’s lead people to see through the fallacy of man-based hope to the finality of Christ-centered contentment. Let’s look past the gifts and through the headlines to the ultimate Shepherd, Jesus.