“If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch…”
How many of our leaders, from the small non-profits to the mega-churches, from our city governments to the White House, need to have this in their office and before their minds every day! This isn’t a left or right specific, all of them need this.
Every. Single. One.
I’ll stop there regarding anything political.
How many times have we felt the pressure of group think creep up? Whether it is a meeting of 6-10 people or a larger meeting of 100 where your “voice” is encouraged and yet you feel that creeping sensation to just go with the crowd, to agree; to not rock the boat. Or, you might feel that creeping sensation coming from the leadership in not so many words to just go along, not make a scene and rock the boat?
Few of us have the opportunity to actually walk with “Kings”: monarchs, leaders of nations, or even Senators, a member of Congress or CEOs and Mayors.
Let’s loosen it up a little bit to include to anyone with a moderate or large influence on a group of people, anyone who has, for lack of a better term “kingship”. This could easily encompass organizations or committees, churches, you name it. It is still easy to see whether our mettle held under the pressure to resist conforming, being a yes man, or to watch it change, thus losing the very thing that potentially got us there – our “virtue” and our connection with the “common”.
What better way to sway a crowd or leader than to say what they want to hear instead of planting ourselves like a tree?
I’ve felt this pressure a handful of times.
In a former life I was, for lack of a better term, a “lay minister”. I didn’t hold an actual office, I wasn’t on the payroll, but I served as a young adult leader and taught regularly from Scripture and on occasion I would have the opportunity to speak and teach to the larger assembly. The pressure to change or adjust what you are saying when you feel the crowd isn’t quite getting, understanding or agreeing with what you are saying is real and palpable.
This verse talks about having a spine. Saying what you mean. Meaning what you say. And doing it with conviction. It talks about keeping your virtue, not letting your ego get caught up in the praises of the masses. It talks about not letting title, office, or the affluent influence you away from your roots and the common touch that more than likely put you in the position in the first place.
Remembering those small beginnings and honoring them by not losing that common touch.
In that former life I did have to take a stand. When I saw things that weren’t quite right, I created my own little 95 Theses regarding certain practices that I thought were hindering the congregants from growth, spiritual maturity and connection and keeping them in fear. Group think and leader worship is very prevalent in churches and in a majority of them you are expected to go along with the flow. I could’ve bowed to the pressure, to just conform and redact or abandon what I was saying. I could’ve given a Mea Culpa of sorts and attributed it to my lack of experience, lack of “spiritual insight”, whatever.
But it would’ve been bullshit.
I didn’t make any friends by taking the stand. I didn’t change the church. I eventually left.
I had walked with “kings”, I had spoken with crowds, and I had kept my virtue and I didn’t lose the common touch.