I love to sail. One of my favorite moments in sailing is anchoring the boat off the shore of Chicago to watch the Air and Water Show. One of the best feelings in the world is sitting with my family as F-16s buzz the boat overhead. It is a popular weekend for boating. It is not unusual to have hundreds of boats lined up. Obviously, a properly fixed anchor is essential to enjoying the show. If not, your boat will drift off crashing into an unexpected and certainly soon-to-be frustrated boat owner a few feet away. I have seen it happen; it is not pretty.
Key: freedom is dependent on a fixed anchor.
The news has been dominated by a variety of “crashing boats” when it comes to leadership. What is the difference between a fact and an alternative fact? Truth is objective; therefore, facts are objective. When leadership proposes alternative facts despite clear evidence to the contrary, it signals the presence of an unfixed anchor point. Truth can be adjusted to meet one’s ends. The anchor point then becomes personal ambition rather than an objective reality.
A conservative nominee has been offered for the Supreme Court bench. Clearly, there is disagreement over his suitability, primarily related to social issues. At what point does life begin for a person, conception or birth? Do religious institutions have the right to express their beliefs even if popular culture disagrees with these views? These are topics that will be debated during Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing. Decision-making matters when it comes to leadership. There are differing opinions when it comes to social issues. Thus, we need an anchor point. Otherwise, our decisions become planted in opinion rather than a concrete truth.
Leadership involves power and influence. One can easily squash another person based on their position. Or, one can view their status as a means of leverage, either for good or evil. History records numerous examples of individuals who have used their leadership position to harm. Even though the concept of servant leadership is popular, it is not easy based on the inherent temptations when it comes to a position of power. If our anchor point is not fixed on the values of Christ, power will corrupt. Our sinful human tendency will prevail.
As a believer, there is a constant struggle when it comes to leadership. It involves the old verses the new man articulated by Paul in Romans 7 which are then exasperated by the conforming pulls of the world. Thus, it is critical for believers to be deeply anchored in the transcendent values of the kingdom which do not change. For leaders, this foundation is essential. It frames our perspective and decision-making. When we are rooted in Christ and then allow those values to permeate our leadership, eternal values become our fixed point – immovable, unchanging, sustaining. This foundation is freeing as it allows us to navigate with confidence the shifting truth that is so prevalent in our society. And in doing so, it cultivates a spiritual leverage that can be used for the advancement of the gospel.