This article addresses the question left from Look Out for Those Who Are in Your Charge (pt. 1).
May I suggest a lesson from the story in Jeremiah 40–43? As leaders, we must make decisions that protect the interests and provide for the needs of those in our charge.
Consider this. When a man is single, most of his decisions only affect him. If he’s challenged to a fight, it’s simply a matter of deciding whether to fight to defend his honor or back down. Is he willing to inflict harm and possibly suffer harm to prove his courage? That decision only affects him and the person he fights.
But when he gets married and has children under his care, his honor is no longer the only, or the main, consideration. Now he must place his family’s welfare before his own desire for vindication. If he gets in a fight, he could lose his job, get sued, or be faced with medical bills. Any of those outcomes is going to hurt his family. Therefore, for his family’s sake, he must be more careful in his conduct, his job performance, and the management of his money.
Or, maybe he’s an exceptionally kind and generous man. When he’s single, he can be as free with his money as he desires. If he gives away everything he owns, only he faces the consequences for his decisions. But once he’s got a family to support, he may have to resist his urge to give handouts to everyone who asks. He is the only advocate his family has and it is his God-given responsibility to see that their needs are met before those of others.
Providing Protection For the Family
Now, at first, this may appear to be un-Christian. Didn’t Paul the apostle say that we should consider others as more important than ourselves and look out for the interests of others (Phil. 2:3–4)? Of course. And that’s precisely what a parent is doing when he or she places the needs of their children first. Paul also stated that any parent who fails to provide for the needs of their family has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1 Tim. 5:8).
Doesn’t that also apply to providing protection to one’s children? A parent may personally be a pacifist and believe it’s wrong to fight under any circumstances. But doesn’t God expect that parent to guard the lives He’s entrusted to their care? This also means that a parent will be cautious as to who they invite into their home. The parent will want to exclude sex offenders and child molesters. Of course, it will hurt some feelings, but the protection of one’s children has priority.
Providing Protection For Those Under You
Doesn’t this principle apply to all levels of leadership? Isn’t it particularly applicable to government leaders, who have the lives and welfare of the people they serve in their care? Think about Gedaliah. He may have been a kind, generous, and tolerant man. But being true to himself and his convictions should not have been the only factor in his decisions. He wasn’t only gambling with his own life when he welcomed Ishmael to his table. He was gambling with the lives under his care. Gedaliah had a lot of people depending upon him for protection and he should have taken precautions to ensure their safety and wellbeing. That was the charge he received from the King of Babylon.
And doesn’t a President have an obligation to the people who elected him and to the Constitution he swore to defend? He may be a good-natured and tolerant person. But he or she has got to make decisions that ensure the protection of the nation they serve. If a President believes in pacifism, then he or she shouldn’t be President while the rest of the world believes in war. His or her pacifism should be their own conviction and should not be permitted to put the lives of so many others at risk. His or her generosity should first be directed toward the people they serve and pledged to protect. If the President is not an advocate for America, then who will be?
A leader’s position of power is not for his or her own fulfillment. It is not a platform for one’s personal agenda. It exists to serve those who have been placed in their charge.
Dear Father in heaven, as a parent help me to act only in ways that will serve the needs of my spouse, children, and family. As a leader help me to act only in a way that serves those in my charge. As a citizen, help me to only choose leaders who will place the needs of our nation before all the other interests that cry out for their attention. Amen.
In article photo: Sailor from helicopter squadron returns home to son by the U.S. Navy licensed under U.S. Govt. Work