The highest office

This month will have many significant events to remember and to record. But many are looking to the United States of America to discover the outcome of the presidential election.

It has been said:  “In America, anybody can be president. That’s one of the risks you take.” The words are attributed to Adlai Ewing Stevenson II, who ran for president twice (unsuccessfully) and was an ambassador to the UN. But it is also true that not everybody is cut out to be the President.

Of course it takes a special kind of person, someone who is tough, smart, wealthy and driven, just to run for the job! It takes still more talent and character to hold up under the pressures of life in the White House. Lists of traits found in good presidents of the past are interesting. I was struck by one article listing desirable characteristics, that included: accountability, respect, cohesiveness, humility, honesty, independence, wisdom, courage, compassion, action, proactivity, passion, commitment and love. This last comment was striking because of the explanation that followed. ‘Finally, an effective president of a country has a selfless love for his (her) people and for all the next generations. All of the qualities above are difficult to practice, but because of his love, he does his best to practice them all.’

My mind went to the words of Jesus, the most significant of all leaders. In teaching his closest aides about leadership he rebuked their jostling for position and status by saying: ‘For even the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many’ (Mark 10v45). Whatever the outcome of the election in USA we know that public servants are wise to take their cue from Jesus. The future President will struggle to deliver a fraction of what people want, but they are to be public servants and subservient to a divine authority. Jesus, the one who gave up his life in order to rescue us from all sin and sorrow, holds such authority. Jesus alone olds the highest office and is found not in the Oval Office of the White House, but in the throne room of heaven seated at the right hand of the Father.

So, let’s model our own lives on the life of Jesus and look to the one who came to bring us life.

Paul Kingman