Wineskins Archive

January 21, 2014

AfterGlow: Two Men (Apr 1993)

Filed under: — @ 4:17 pm and

by Phillip Morrison
April, 1993

The two men belonged to the same generation but had little else in common.

Dwight David Eisenhower was an American hero who led the Allies to victory in Europe in World War II and later became the 34th president of the United States. When those of us who remember Ike are dead, future generations will know him through history books and television documentaries.

Ernesto Estevez was born in the United States but he never abandoned his Latin heritage. Spending most of his life as a missionary in Cuba, he was forced to return to the United States by Fidel Castro’s revolutionary government. When those of us who have fond memories of Estevez are all dead, future generations will know little about his work or even his name.

One thing Eisenhower and Estevez did share was an understanding of true leadership. Eisenhower is reported to have challenged his staff officers to move a piece of string in a desired direction. After several had pushed the string, only to produce an aimless tangle, Ike smiled and said, “Here’s the way to move strings…or people.” As he pulled rather than pushed, the string followed obediently throughout its length.

When Estevez knew his death was near, he made me promise to conduct a simple funeral. Three songs, the reading of a familiar psalm and an Edgar A. Guest poem, and a prayer would be the entire service. His wish was honored as I read “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,…” and “I’d rather see a sermon than to hear one any day. I’d rather one would walk with me than merely show the way….”

Two men, one famous and one scarcely known, had learned well the lessons of leadership. At least one had learned those lessons from Jesus “who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant…” (Philippians 2:7).

There’s a lot of talk about leadership. Expensive seminars purport to teach the secrets of leadership. Too often they emphasize key words such as power, intimidation, and domination.

For the Christian who would lead, however, the first lesson to be learned is not how to lead but how to follow. The principles governing biblical leadership were clearly set forth by Jesus himself: “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28).Wineskins Magazine

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