When the foundations are shaken and the support systems we’ve all grown dependent on fail, who will stand up and bring order and peace amidst the chaos? There are some, I suppose, who hope that no one does, who hope that chaos will reign in this frightening new world. Such a hope is misplaced. History shows that where anarchy exists, tyranny is just around the corner. Nature abhors a vacuum. So does society. In the world God has made, there must be leaders. The question is, what kind of leaders will we have? Will they be the kind of men who will bring peace and justice and order out of the rubble? Or will they seize control only to feed their coffers and to lay claim to their own petty dictatorships?
This is no hypothetical concern. A brief look at American history shows that finding the right kind of leader is a very real problem. You know the stories. In the nineteenth century, many men and women moved out from under the protections of civilization, migrating from the big cities in the East hoping to find the blessings of liberty and prosperity in the West. As they did, without formal authority structures and established governments, powerful men often rose to power to the great sorrow and detriment of the common people. Those with wealth and the means to employ ruthless men in their service held the average immigrant hostage. It took heroic men to stand up to the wealthy cattlemen, mine owners, or railroad tycoons. The legacy of freedom and peace in American, at least in the West, owes much to the courage of such men.
This scenario is sure to be repeated when we find ourselves out from under the order and government currently on offer in America. If the power grid goes down, whether from natural or manmade causes, there will be a collapse of the infrastructure. That infrastructure is the fiber that holds our current government together. Break that bond, and the whole hierarchy will likely collapse. The resulting condition will likely resemble that of the Wild West. Peace-loving citizens, seeking only to provide for and protect their families, will again be prey to the whims of powerful men and their henchmen.
The labors of preparedness undertaken today will only serve the preparer if the future society following this collapse retains some form of decency and order. Without some rule of law, the goods possessed by one man will be constantly under threat by his neighbor. Where justice and order are not preserved, brute power becomes the only virtue. No one but the wicked, power-hungry robber baron benefits from that kind of society. So what can be done?
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What we will need in those days, weeks, months, or years after the grid goes down is a different kind of leader. What kind of leader will that be, and how can we make sure that we can find him or her when the time comes? A brief survey of the biblical requirements for leadership will give us the answer.
The Apostle Paul describes the traits of a good leader in his instructions to Timothy and Titus (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9). A leader, whether in the state, the church, or the home, must be a servant of those he leads. He must be known for his leadership qualities in his home and with his family. He must not be arrogant or self-serving. He cannot be a drunkard, violent, or greedy for gain. He must be able to control his temper. He must be wise and willing to do good to all men.
Where can such a shopping list of virtues be found in one man or woman? True it is that such high quality leaders are hard to find. But the fact is, such leaders are not born with these qualities; they are made. They are made by discipline and nurture. They are made by stringing together a long series of good practices. Good leaders are honed and sharpened by diligent effort.
Herein lies the lesson I want to convey. The only way that we’ll have good and upright leaders in the new society we see coming is if we begin, as a community and a culture, to produce those leaders now. We must do so by encouraging selflessness. We must do so by instilling in ourselves and our children esteem for hard work without expecting immediate gratification. We want leaders who will lay down their lives for the good of their communities rather than compromise with greed or self-interest. This means that we need to practice in our homes the self-giving, other-first thinking that the true Ruler, Jesus Christ, exemplified in his thirty-three years of leadership among us. Great leaders don’t fall from the sky. They have to be planted, tended, watered, and weeded. Only then can we expect a harvest of greatness, the kind of greatness that can lead us out of the coming darkness into a better tomorrow.
Let us therefore labor hard to plant and grow leaders for the future. And even if, by the mercies of God, the disasters we anticipate are delayed, our labors to become virtuous leaders and to train up our children for the same will not have been wasted. We need to prepare for a time when the future rests on the shoulders of good and virtuous rulers. We need to start this preparation today.
©2012 Off the Grid News