It sounds so lofty, but it really did happen as I was praying this morning. I was meeting with our ministry prayer group this morning and we were praying with regard to the federal election. As I waited, I had a spiritual 'aha' moment. I was reminded of Saul in the OT. As Israel's first king, Saul embodied everything that the people wanted in a leader. He was tall, striking, brave, charismatic, photogenic, good with a sword, etc, etc. Men were inspired by him and women were attracted to him. His enemies feared him. He had just enough religion to be acceptable for the important national moments but not so much that he would put people off. In short, he was exactly what they wanted. He was a king, just like every other king in the area.
Our expectations of leaders are not that different than what Saul embodied. We want our leaders to be 10 feet tall (that's 3m for some of you...) and bulletproof. Strong and brave, they should also be decisive but willing to listen to every concern from every citizen. They must be interested in babies but not 'babes' and be able to stand on a moral high ground that neither the media nor the masses can attain. They should be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, stop locomotives with a single hand, rescue damsels in distress and generally be all things to all people.
Here's my 'aha' moment from this morning. I was reminded that while Saul was everything people expected him to be, he failed miserably because he lacked everything that God expected him to be. This lesson is profoundly underlined in the scriptures where Samuel sees Saul's successor David as a young boy and is ready to dismiss him until God says that while men look on the outside, God looks at the heart. God saw and knew something about David's heart that no one else could see. God is far more impressed by the substance of our character than He is by whatever 'sizzle' we may be able to generate in the people we meet. He is more interested in our passion than He is in our potential and possibilities. He weighs our lives (and the lives of our leaders) on a completely different set of scales than what we ordinarily use.
I'm weary of the 'Saul Factor' in the political arena. I'm tired of 'being disappointed by superstar' leaders who make disastrous decisions that affect our world, our country, our communities and families. I'm going to start praying as never before that God would give us leaders at a national, provincial and community level who are men and women after God's heart. At the end of the day, I think our nation is better served by men and women of substance rather than just sizzle.