Dream Word – BECOME
Genesis 17:1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. KJV
The Three Considerations of Bogart and Bacall
In 2004, aged 95, just four weeks before his death, Alistair Cooke, after 58 years of writing ‘Letter from America,’ the longest running talk radio show ever, put the finishing touches to letter number 2,869 whilst he lay dying of bone cancer, propped up on pillows in the same New York apartment he had lived in for 50 years.
Cooke, in his final letter, makes reference to the 'Lewinskian fall President', Bill Clinton, remarking that, “In all the 12-year concern about Saddam's intentions this fear never failed to haunt the White House - the fear of an overnight Saddam attack and either the outbreak of a whole Middle Eastern war or the death of the state of Israel. President Clinton fretted over this problem as much as anyone and had plans to go into Iraq to enact, on his own if must be, "serious consequences", when Miss Lewinsky became a figure of fate, as significant as Napoleon's mistress, Madame Waleska. By the time Clinton was ready to mobilise an American or allied force he didn't possess the moral authority to invade Long Island.”
Regarding the whole and necessary issue of ‘Moral Authority,’ I came across this definition on the internet, here it is: “Moral authority is having the personal credibility with your target group that makes your words persuasive to them. Moral authority is achieved when your target group perceives that you have these two qualities: integrity and compassion.” I like that. You see, the real magnificence of a mighty "moral majority" does not bear the marks of a pompous religious pressure group, but rather it bears the marks of Christ! The marks of the great Shepherd of the sheep. The bloodied brow, the slapped face of the rejected words of truth. The broken and pierced hands and feet. All these scars have been received by the disciples of Christ, chiefly, by being true to the Master and His message. In all these trials, these damaged disciples have been found to be constant in care and the very embodiment of kindness in terms of expressed compassion towards the folks they are leading. Yes, integrity and compassion, those two things my friends, is where the power of any “moral majority” is going to come from.
Yes, a leader must possess a Moral Majority. He must exude an impartiality in terms of fairness in love, provision of goods, protection of lambs and practicality in leading and yes, these must be exhibited towards all those folks he is leading. Such worked out, worked at integrity and compassion will provide leaders with the necessary credibility to set both the pace and the direction of change. For such a broad ranging fairness will be indicative of compassion, and such plodding persistence in the same unalterable direction, despite persecution and suffering, will be indicative of a true integrity. I tell you, if you can make the steep ascent to the mountain top of the Moral Majority, then the earth will be yours and everything in it.
Alistair Cook had many friends, two of which were Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Whilst on a train journey, it was Alistair who burst into their carriage asking the question “Was it Christ who said, ‘Be Ye Perfect?’” For a brilliant and an educated man, the son of a Methodist Minister, Cooke should have known the answer to that question. I suspect he did and that is was a relevant question for the contemplation and consideration of both Bogart and Bacall .
Like many of you leaders tonight, you too know the answer to that question, but for whatever reason have failed to climb the steep ascent of the mountain of the Moral Majority. Unless you ascend that mountain you cannot lead your people into the promised land. Yes, if that plane of impartial compassion and persistent integrity leaves the ground and you're not on it, you'll regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life. Never Bogart impartiality, compassion or integrity. Oh, and if you have arrived at the top of the mountain, don’t Lewinsky your valuable prize.
Listen: - Keep my soul, and deliver me; Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for You. Psalms 25:20-21 NKJV
Pray:- Lord, deliver me from self-righteousness and blind religious pomposity, but oh my God, lead me up the rough ridges of consistent integrity and the steep cliffs of impartial compassion, that I might ascend the mountain of the moral majority, yes, that I might lead your people well, in Jesus name I ask it, amen.