Leadership!—There are two types of leadership abroad. One gathers strong minds around it, freely and fully discussing plans and objectives, drawing points of strength from these counselors, and together formulating plans and policies that are the result of united study. Freedom of thought and expression is encouraged. This is the stronger, the democratic way of leadership. The other gathers men who will always assent to and follow a strong plan proposed, supporting the leader and his way of working. This is the authoritarian way, the way of benevolent dictatorship. In certain aspects it is the most efficient, and most .productive way to accomplish results. There is less discussion and less time wasted. But it does not make for strength of the rank and file. Rather, it frowns upon independent thought, expression, and achievement. Its tendency is to develop followers rather than leaders, weaklings rather than the strength of rugged individualism. The former is in keeping with the genius of this movement ; the latter periodically seeks to intrude but is alien to its spirit.
Adjustments!—Why do some personalities always irritate their associates? Is it because of their tone of voice, brusqueness, unseemly aggressiveness, snobbishness, overweening superiority, selfishness, egotism, crudeness—or perhaps a combination of several of these unlovely traits? Some of these individuals have conspicuous ability. Therefore the tragedy is the greater because they are unable to employ their talents to the full. They have to be held back or transferred after so long, lest they injure the work. And thus they come to feel that every man's hand is against them. Why not try some self-examination and locate the trouble? Why not make a scientific analysis, and seek a remedy ? Why not go to a competent and candid friend, and ask, Just what is the matter? And then determinedly set about changing the situation. We need every individual who has talent and can work with the brethren. When everybody else seems to be out of step, why not try getting in step with the rest? It looks better, feels better, is better—and it is imperative. An army must always march in step and be one in spirit and objective.
Achievement!—There are those who are able to achieve much, yes, to accomplish the seemingly impossible. Their records may seem impressive. But sometimes those advances have come by riding roughshod over the feelings and rights of others. They are bought at the price of injustice to others. Do advances based upon the wounded feelings and resentments of associates pay ? Are they actually worth while ? And do they comport with the conduct of a Christian worker? If something is achieved that could not be repeated because of the strong feelings of those who have been the victims of that advance, was it worth while? Was it a genuine accomplishment? Did it actually pay? Usually there is a reckoning day for such. The law of cause and effect still operates. There i a comedown or a setback. And there is usually little sympathy when reverses overtake the dominator. Genuine success is built upon sound, Christian, repeatable procedures.
Evaluation!—Divergent or extreme views upon teachings of the Spirit of prophecy nearly always spring from failure properly to relate and evaluate the full evidence. We are on sound ground, and safe, only as we assemble all the statements bearing upon a given theme or point, drawing balanced conclusions from the sum total of the evidence. Every single or isolated expression should be understood in the light of the aggregate evidence. Apparent discrepancies usually disappear under this sound procedure, and harmony and clarity are seen to obtain. That which, taken by itself, might lead to a different conception, or misconception, will often be sharply modified by the many other statements that bear upon the various aspects of the whole. Let us be sound in our seeking and scientific in our approach. Let us keep a balance in the search for truth and understanding. Thus truth is honored, and the bias and burden of the erratic will be eliminated, or at least neutralized.
Helpers!—We cannot all be in the lead. There can be but one head to an organization —conference, institution, paper, or department. But we can all be effective helpers to the success of the common enterprise. While leadership has some advantages, it has its serious drawbacks—its burdens, its cares, its accountability, its backfires, its inevitable criticisms, its wear and worry, its anxieties and tears. He who covets the spotlight of leadership must never forget that it means longer hours, harder work, greater criticism, and solemn accountability. Not all are fitted by temperament, training, experience, or physique to carry it through. Happy is the man who, finding the place for which he is fitted, makes a grand success as an associate or an assistant in some phase of our great enterprise for God. It is an honor just to be in God's work. Let us be content in the place in which the brethren have placed us, and for which they feel we are suited. He who wants to be in the lead is usually thereby disqualified for leadership. We can all be loyal helpers.
L. E. F.