Matthew 23:27-28 – “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside, but the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside, you appear to people as righteous, but on the inside, you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”
Jesus condemned the Pharisees and religious leaders for outwardly appearing saintly and holy but inwardly remaining full of corruption and greed. These were the people who were supposed to be leading Israel. They were to teach the people God’s laws. Instead, they made new laws to add to God’s laws and added burdens to God’s people.
From the Old Testament to the New Testament, God speaks about the leaders. They had a special responsibility to the people they were leading. God warns that they will be held accountable for this unique and essential task.
God calls for honest men and women to be the leaders of our great nation still, making ethical and appropriate decisions for ALL people. He charges them to not think about what is suitable for themselves or the very few, but to think about what is ideal for everyone. In Isaiah 10:1, He warns: “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees.” And Proverbs 29:2 says: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”
Leadership is not an easy endeavor, and not everyone will be called to be a leader. Those called into leading our government in some way, shape, or form are very few indeed. But that calling does come with great responsibility. It carries a duty and an obligation to the people to be just, honest, and forthright. To be able to put the interests of others before your own. God demands more from His leaders. In the Book of Luke 12:48, Jesus says this: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
It does not matter whether our leaders are red or blue, Republican or Democrat or whether they lean to the left or lean to the right. It does not matter whether they are black, white or brown, man or woman. Our leaders are called to do one thing, to lead and to lead well.
During our country’s government formation, our leaders had many different thoughts and ideas on leadership and what type of individual should be in a leadership position. How would we pick these people? How should they be paid? Should they be paid? That seems like an odd question today, but it was a hotly debated one 250 years ago.
In an excerpt from the book “The 5000 Year Leap,” this chapter’s topic is “Making Public Office an Honor Rather Than a Position of Profit.” It states this: “As Benjamin Franklin traveled in Europe, he noted that there was a violent struggle for appointments to public offices because they paid so well. He felt this was a severe mistake.
In the United States’ early history, Community Offices were looked upon as stations of honor granted to the recipients by an admiring community, state, or nation. These offices were therefore often filled by those who performed their services with little or no compensation.
While in Europe in 1777, Franklin explained to a friend the widespread support for the American attitude concerning public service: ‘In America, salaries, where indispensable, are extremely low; but much of public business is done gratis. The honor of serving the public ably and faithfully is deemed sufficient. Public spirit really exists there, and has great effects.'”
This statement does not mean our political leaders today should not be fairly compensated. They should be, of course. But we need to go back to the premise that public office should first and foremost be an honor and not a position for profit.
I believe in God and His son, my Lord Jesus Christ. I want to think that the majority of our political leaders do as well. For those who do believe, I would leave them with this verse from Isaiah 3:13-15: “The Lord takes his place in court; he rises to judge the people. The Lord enters into judgment against the elders and leaders of his people: It is you who have ruined my vineyard; the plunder from the poor is in your houses. What do you mean by crushing my people and grinding the faces of the poor?”
Because they were unjust, Isaiah said the leaders would be the first to receive God’s judgment. Leaders will be held accountable for how they lead this country. They will be held responsible for the decisions they make. From both sides of the aisle, all of our leaders would do well to remember these words. And remember this as well; whitewash only covers up so much. It is usually pretty easy to see what lies underneath.
God bless you all, and God bless America!
Well said John.