I had a quick introduction to Rep. Frank Wolf under the dome of the Capitol in Washington several years ago. He skipped the pleasantries, looked me in the eye, and said, “Where are the great men?” Then, before running off down the hall, he sketched a parable in the air with his hands, illustrating with one hand the gradual lateral moves from righteousness of the unrighteous, followed a few steps behind by the lateral moves from righteousness of the Church. Gulp.
Soon the race will be on for the next occupant of the Oval Office, and I wonder, “Where are the great men?” What would a great man look like if you met one?
God does not leave us in the dark about what true manhood is. He tells Moses’ successor Joshua in triplicate:
“Be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:6).
“Only be strong and very courageous” (verse 7).
“Be strong and courageous” (verse 9).
This is not merely an Old Testament trait, for God repeats Himself in the New Testament:
“… act like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).
Evidently, in the eyes of the Lord, a real man and a great man is one who is strong and courageous—in all the forms you may imagine that strength and courage come in.
Imagine a man who runs for the office of president of the United States, not for his own fame or self-aggrandizement, but out of sincere concern for the people and the state of the nation. Is there such a man in this country?
Now imagine a notch higher: a man who would rather forgo his own likely political success for the sake of helping another person he thinks God wants to be the better leader of the nation. You have just imagined Jonathan, son of Saul, who was the rightful heir to his father’s throne but who took a back seat to help his natural political enemy David, to the baffled consternation of his father:
“As long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established. Therefore send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die” (1 Samuel 20:31).
Now ratchet it up even further. How great a man would you have to be to prefer—to actually prefer—that someone else would do well even if it meant you would look bad in the process. Now you have imagined Paul the apostle:
“But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed” (2 Corinthians 13:7).
This is so hard! Who can do it? With God all things are possible. Pray for the Lord to raise up a man in this land of such a caliber that he would rather look bad to the world if by his sacrifice some other man would do good.