It costs our all—at times, even life itself—to be a spiritual leader. He who thus leads must be a shining example to others. He must sacrifice more, donate more, and labor more. True leaders do not consider their own ease nor seek their own comfort. They must strengthen the weak, stir the indolent, convince the unbelieving, instruct the foolish, remove prejudice, overcome opposition, encourage those who look to them, and, by the example of their own achievements, draw all men to do greater things. Every leader in this cause should set those under his charge on fire for God.
To be a leader is to be in danger, for every leader should be at the front in the battle. His word of command to his men is not "Go," but "Come." He is always to face the foe. The enemy should never see his back. There is need for courageous leadership today. Errors, new and old, seek entrance. Some are inclined to criticize and oppose. Many more find it easy to hold back and say, "It is too much; it cannot be done." We need a united and wise leadership, a kind, yet strong energetic leadership. Nearly all our members are willing, loyal, and devoted. They will gladly follow a steady, determined advance.
A genuine leader is a great treasure. One good, fruitful leader is worth a host of ordinary men. The men of David's day recognized this when they said to him: "Thou art worth ten thousand of us." The twelve apostles, chosen by Christ as His leaders, did more to build up the gospel cause than the thousands of other believers. A conference of two thousand members with a strong leadership often does more in real spiritual work than one of five or even six thousand with weak or divided leadership. Better a church of forty with a godly, loyal elder, than one of four hundred members, scattered and discouraged. We need to pray to God for strong, earnest leaders in the advent cause—leaders who seek not their own glory, but the glory of God.
The measure of a leader is found in his record during a time of crisis. The skill of a captain is seen in a storm. When friends applaud and times are good, it is easy to lead. But in the dark days, when many desert or lose heart, when opposition is strong, then is disclosed the mettle of the leader in charge.
Leaders in this cause should train, but never select, their successors. No one should seek an office or strive for a position. Unholy ambitions, longings for honor and power, are not of God. A race for the supremacy is a race for spiritual death. Wire pulling or political scheming, being wholly of the world and evil, have no rightful place in the Lord's work. They are an abomination to God. A leader who has been called by Christ should sense his high spiritual privilege and heavy responsibility, and earnestly and loyally do his very best. He should pray, plan, work, give, and sacrifice, exerting himself to the very utmost. The high price of spiritual leadership is the surrender of all for Christ on the altar of service.