Don’t Follow the Leader

Netherlands Speed Skating European Championships

For you winter Olympics fanatics out there, you might recall a devastating turn of events back in 2010. The gold medal was on the line in the 10,000-meter speed skating event. In speed skating, the skaters are required to switch lanes throughout the race (outside lane and inside lane). Sven Kramer, the best in the world at the 10,000-meter at the time, was easily leading the way. With this being a long race, and since the skaters are required to switch lanes, the coaches will direct the skaters into the correct lane. With about 7 laps left to go and already beating the 2nd place guy by about 5 seconds, Kramer’s coach instructed him to go to the inside lane. Unfortunately for Kramer, his coach led him wrong. He should have gone to the outside lane. This resulted in his disqualification and the gold medal taken out of his hands.

Some people have put the blame on Kramer, saying he should have known which lane to be in. This is true. If Kramer had been paying more attention, he might not have made the mistake of going in the wrong lane. However, the whole reason he did it in the first place was because he trusted his coach.

Leadership is an inseparable part of the world. It can be invaluable, but it can also be devastating, particularly when leaders, well, mislead. This is part of the reason Jesus was so hard on the Pharisees and scribes. They were the religious leaders. They should have known the text. If anyone should have been able to recognize the Messiah, it was them. Yet they were blind guides and hypocrites (Matthew 23:13ff).

Unfortunately, our world isn’t much better. There are so many different religions and denominations, it can be extremely confusing to weed through the information. Thankfully, the one source that provides pure, undefiled leadership is God’s word (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It’s really not about who’s right, but what’s right. And what’s right is Scripture.

We need to be incredibly careful who we are following and trusting for biblical answers. Do we know for sure this person is following God? Even Satan used scripture to make his ways look like the truth (Matthew 4; Genesis 3). The only way to know for sure if someone is teaching the truth is to compare it with the actual truth, God’s Word.

Let’s always double-check the teachings of the spiritual leaders in our lives. Our eternity may depend on it. Not to mention, the truly good leaders will appreciate an honest correction if they were mistaken.

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