The Dangerous Road for the man who would be King!
It is a dangerous road for the man who would be King. This is the game that is played when men paint themselves as invincible to gain the hearts of the gullible. It is an implausible charade often repeated and almost as often believed. It might be time for a new chapter. Instead of looking for God’s in the form of men, we ought to accept the simplicity of God at work inside of men.
The title of this article, “The Man who would be King”, is the name of a 1975 film adapted from Rudyard Kipling’s novel of the same title. Staring Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Christopher Plummer, the film follows two rogue ex-non-commissioned officers of the Indian Army who set off from late 19th Century British India in search of adventure and end up as kings of Kafiristan. Unfortunately the story ends in tragedy as their ascent to royalty was built upon the locals belief they were divine descendants of Alexander the Great. It is an illusion too easily shattered.
While this particular story is mythical it is all too common in our world. It begins when men assume or mimic divinity. Though willing subjects abound it is an impossible sell. Still the promise of a payout is too great for some to resist and a classic co-dependant relationship is born. It consists of men who wish to be kings, playing a part for people who hope their leaders can be gods. At best it makes for a very temporary and shallow alliance. Nevertheless men continue to be drawn to the enormous prospect–a chance to be king.
At the end of the day none are guiltless! Both the people and their fabled lord willingly dance to the same tune only to be visited by tragedy. Harmless as it is as a fictional story, when played in real life, it leaves in its wake a disillusioned and broken people. Yet, churches and leaders willing to play the game, foolishly chase the dream of human perfection. We cannot forget that key maxim given when Jesus said, “The truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) There is no freedom without the truth, and so neither can there be a Kingdom.
For the serious Christian this scenario ought never even be an option. True Christian leadership is built upon humility which can allow for no illusions. It is held within the tension of opposites wherein God gives men authority by virtue of His perfection and not their own. Not insignificant in the vast array of truths is that God uses flawed men. Yes, the Kingdom of God is manifest in and by those who have the courage to take their place. They act with boldness despite knowing their limitations.
We eventually discover this kind of daring can be found, but it is rare. It seems it is far easier to be godlike than have to defend our humanity. Eventually this is where conflict arises as people inevitably point to imperfection as the reason we should not lead. How odd? Yet how very human!
Indeed it takes a special kind of courage to face down our own feelings of inadequacy. Even more to take the reins of leadership knowing what men truly hope we might be. Still, this kind of courage is necessary to advance the Kingdom of God. Accepting our humanity, as humbling as it may be, is one of the most significant steps toward authentic Kingdom Authority. For the Christian who would be king, or in our case be a co-ruler with Jesus, we have no other choice. The alternative is a road far too dangerous for the man who would be King.