I Will Lead On Gently

By G.K. Wallace

A good leader will display tender consideration for the old, young, weak and unfortunate. Jacob knew this when he said to Esau, “I will lead on gently.” He realized, “If they overdrive them one day, all the flocks will die” (Gen. 33:14). A good leader will not overdrive.

We may overdrive by continual controversy about “words to no profit” (2 Tim. 1:14). It is so easy to reject the weak if they have not reached the heights of the strong (Rom. 14:1). It is tempting to condemn the young if they do not know life as we who are older know it. We may require of the young and weak a degree of courage and other graces which in their case may be only buds.

We may “overdrive” by preaching nothing but severe truth, threatening and punishment, and never emphasize the great promises of God. It is ours to console as well as to condemn. The great comforting passages of the Bible should not be reserved for funerals only.

We may “overdrive” by manifesting austerity, suspicion and harshness toward those who disagree with us. We must do good unto all men (Gal. 6:10). To return good for evil is indeed a golden rule (Matt. 7:12). Faultfinding has a place, but not to the neglect of worthy praise.

“Fathers, provoke not your children that they be not discouraged” (Col. 3:21). We may discourage even the strong by dwelling upon the woes and trials of Christianity and saying little or nothing about its joys.

Jesus had a special place in his heart for the poor and downtrodden. He was tender and kind and to the most sinful. Even to those who would become leaders he said, “I have many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now” (Jn. 16:12). We should not drive like Jehu, but lead like Jesus. We move a lighted candle slowly lest it go out. A fire almost expiring can be put out by a strong wind. A tender plant can be watered too much. In dealing with the weak we would do well to follow the hospital rule: “Walk softly and speak quietly.” We were all little children first and had to learn to walk. “The Lord’s servant must not strive.” We must have “a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another . . . and love which is the bond of perfectness” (Col. 3:12-14). These qualities help to make a good leader. (The above article was quoted from Four State Gospel News [Feb. 1991].)

Guardian of Truth XXXV: 7, p. 212
April 4, 1991