Reality, Truth and the Leadership Journey
Deciding between freedom and truth
Consider these quotes from two famous leaders. Max De Pree famously quipped, “The first job of a leader is to define reality.” Pontius Pilate lamented, “What is truth?” How do we, as leaders, help define reality for our organization unless we know what is true?
Steward leaders look for truth in only one place – the Owner of everything. God is not only the source of truth, Scripture tells us Jesus Christ IS the truth. If truth is a person and not some subjective construct of ideas, there is no reason for us to lead from confusion. That is the enemy’s goal, to replace truth with uncertainty.
In The Four Gifts of the King, Steward is faced with his greatest challenge when he must decide between freedom and truth.
Philandra took him by the hand. “My dear Steward, everyone has a right to believe whatever they want. That is the beauty of this land. We cherish everyone’s vision of truth and beauty. That is why I freed you just now. You have every right to receive your truth from the king’s voice. We are committed to openness and the pursuit of truth. Every voice must be heard, and every belief must be met with tolerance and love. When we lose that, we cease being truly human.”
She walked across the room, turned, and looked back at Steward. “You do believe that, don’t you, Steward?”
Steady, push on but be cautious.
“Yes, I believe so. But now that you know the king does speak and wants to be heard by all his people, surely you will help me find the Transmitter and hear his voice for yourself.”
Philandra gave a wave of her hand. “It is enough for me to know that you hear his voice. I have my own voices that I hear, that I look to for truth and guidance and a sense of the real. Would you like to hear those voices? Or what about the Cosmers, who find truth in the stars? Or the Planters, who find their truth in nature and its many gods? Do you wish to hear their voices and follow their truths? And there are the Dawners, who find truth in pursuit of suffering, or the Epists, who find truth in knowledge and understanding. Do you want to hear their voices and follow their truth?”
Philandra stopped, although Steward sensed she had countless more examples.
He wasn’t sure why, but he sensed what he was about to say would mean the difference between freedom and death. “I do not know these other truths about which you speak. I only know that the king spoke to me. I heard his voice, and he has called me to this place to find the Transmitter so I may approach the throne room of the king. Will you help me?”
Philandra gazed out her window onto the long promenade and the Sacred Mount that loomed in the distance. Then she turned back to look at Steward. Her eyes had lost their glimmer. Now they were colder, calculating.
“You have a choice to make, young Steward. If you are to leave here and escape to freedom, you must leave me with the assurance that you will pledge yourself to pursue all truth wherever you find it, not just one truth in one place. There is no one truth, Steward. Do you understand that? Expand your search. The king-myth will demand your full allegiance and cut you off from all other sources of truth but itself. It has demanded such of everyone who has ever pursued it, and it will for you. For that reason, you must leave it behind. It is only in the defiance of any one great truth that we can all live together in peace. And that is my greatest desire—that we all live in unity and peace. That unity is only possible through an abandonment of the idea of any one truth and the joyful pursuit of truth at every level and in all things.”
She walked to Steward, taking his face in her hands, rubbing her soft fingers across his cheeks and looking deep into his eyes. In a silky-smooth voice carried on the sweetest breath, she concluded, “You will give up your pursuit of this king, won’t you, Steward? It is the only way to real freedom and peace and serenity. Give it up and I will help you find favor again here in Seudomartus. Give it up and you can live here in harmony. Give it up and you can enjoy the Halls of Wisdom whenever you want. Give it up and you can live out all your days in happiness and contentment. Give up your search, Steward, and I will set you free.” (The Four Gifts of the King, Morgan James Publishing, 2019)
Are you willing to lead according to the truth? Will you pay the price for consistent, unwavering witness to Him? Will you define reality according to this truth for all you lead? These are the questions that will define your leadership and the extent to which God can work in you and through you to accomplish your mission and His work and will.
Proclaiming the truth is costly, but if we are to lead in the name of the One who IS the truth what else can we do? If we are His stewards, we will follow His leading and cling to His word regardless of the cost.
Having heard the voice of the king, will you give up your search now?