THE title of a recent red-bordered "Time Essay" asked the intriguing question "Whatever happened to Charisma?" Then another first-line question, "Where have all the leaders gone?" hooked me into reading the whole article. The writer was lamenting the fact that today's world doesn't have dynamic Churchills, de Gaulles, Khrushchevs, Kennedys, et cetera. He said, "The bland are leading the bland," and quoted New York Senator Jacob Javits' acid remark, "We may have reached a balance of mediocrity."

Charisma is defined as a special magical grace, an extraordinary force of personality, a dynamic, magnetic power that compels men to follow a leader. Through the centuries it has ever attended men with a great cause men who know where they are going and who know what needs to be done to get there. Nehemiah demonstrated it in rebuilding Jerusalem's walls. David's six hundred men proved that he possessed it. When Jesus called, "Follow Me," men left everything and started marching. Martin Luther had charisma so did James White, Captain Bates, and W. A. Spicer. There were thousands who rallied around their banners.

But how about God's work and God's leaders for this final hour? Are "the bland leading the bland" in a gentle, lukewarm "balance of mediocrity"? Could it be said of us also that "charisma one of the dominant cliches of the sixties is clearly on the wane"? God forbid that any leader should be bland or mediocre at an hour like this!

Time suggests that the U.S.'s problem is "no definable popular will, no sense of purpose. . . . Before there can be a Moses there must be a people of Israel who want to get out of Egypt." Brethren, where is our will? What is our big dream our great purpose in our evangelistic program? Do we want to see the work finished?

Listen "I appeal to you to give your selves wholly to the work. Christ gave His time, His soul, His strength, to labor for the benefit and blessing of humanity. . . . How few of us are heart to heart with the Redeemer in this solemn, closing work! There is scarcely a tithe of the compassion that there should be for souls unsaved. There are so many to be warned, and yet how few sympathize with God sufficiently to be anything or nothing if only they can see souls won to Christ!" Gospel Workers, pp. 115, 116.

The original meaning of charisma is a special divine endowment that proves a man worthy of his office or calling. Fellow leaders, are we dedicating everything to the work? Are we heart to heart with the Redeemer, even willing to be nothing if only another soul might be won for heaven? If we are, then the proof of the true Spirit-filled leadership the charisma of Christ will vibrate through every fiber and atom of our being. Then, as God's messenger assures, when our light burns brightly "a thousand torches will be kindled at the flame" (Christian Service, p. 175).


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August 1970

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