Friday, September 11, 2015

The Need for Educated Leadership


Scripture:

Daniel 1:17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and skill in every aspect of literature and wisdom; Daniel also had insight into all visions and dreams.

Observation:

Daniel and his three friends had been sent off into exile, but they didn’t let that keep them down. They were God’s children and they were ready to serve him, no matter where they found themselves. Selected for leadership training, they took their responsibility very seriously. Extremely self-disciplined they were careful with their physical bodies as well as their minds. Taking advantage of the great learning which they found there in Babylon, they applied themselves to an excellent education. Yes, they knew about God and the Torah but now, to be the leaders that God wanted them to be they needed to avail themselves of a great depth of learning. They studied way beyond their original sphere of knowledge and became skilled in literature and wisdom.

It was Daniel to whom God had given a supernatural ability and that was to apply all that he had learned to interpret visions and dreams. But all was done in humility and service before the Lord. The result was that these young men went on to become great leaders in the nation — even as aliens! They were respected and renown for their great wisdom and leadership. They invested in their own futures by studying to become the very best at what they were called to become.

Application:

There are many differing opinions about education these days. In our consumer driven world students see themselves as purchasing a product. That has changed attitudes which, at times, can result in demands for an end product which is easily within everyone’s grasp. The problem is that not everyone is as dedicated to their studies as Daniel and his friends, and yet, they want the degree without having to put in much effort. This is seen in programs across the United States as people believe that they are purchasing an education and therefore expect for the service provider to make things as simple as possible.

And while things are to be simple, they are also supposed to be cheap. And while they’re supposed to be cheap, they are supposed to be completed in as short of a period of time as possible. Let’s call it instant education and/or gratification. It’s as if we want to go to Wal-mart to purchase our education on the cheapest plan possible.

The problem with this plan is that in the long run it won’t produce the kind of leadership depth that we find in Daniel and his friends. These four men literally turned the tide of an entire nation of people toward God — and not only their own people, but the people of a foreign land in which they were living. They took the years that were needed to study the culture, literature and scientific knowledge of the Babylonians. Not only did they know their stuff, they become the best at it.

As a result of their education they were widely respected within the secular world and were able to have a voice toward major change. It does not mean that everything always went their way. They encountered a lion’s den and a very hot oven along the way, but they maintained their integrity and stood in the truth they had encountered. They knew the word of God, but they also knew the laws of the land and they were clever enough to use them both for good.

I fear that the shortcuts of today will not provide us with the kinds of leaders that we need for the future. Our world is not becoming simpler, it’s becoming more complex. For Christians to be able to navigate the major changes that we are facing, we need those who will be willing to pay the price, both financially and in time investment, to learn all they can and then apply those truths in leadership.

It’s a frightening enterprise and yet God is calling some of his children to make this commitment. Pay the price to become the kind of influential and well-educated leader that God needs for the future! There may be reluctance, just as Moses was reluctant, but God will help sustain and provide, if we give ourselves in service to him.

The world is in desperate need of Christians who can speak into the complex issues of our day. If God is calling, take the time, just like the four young men, and prepare for the leadership challenges ahead by studying well.

Prayer:

Lord, thank you for the opportunities you place before us. May we take advantage and give of our best to you. Amen.
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