By Chaplain (Maj.) Joshua Metz
Special to GUIDON
This week’s reading
— Luke 17:5-10
In the Gospel of Luke, we find a fascinating exchange between leader and led. The led, in this case, the future Apostles, make an unusual demand of their leader, “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5).
Their leader, Jesus, replies, “If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you may say to this sycamore tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’, and it would obey you.” (Luke 17:6). From this brief but fascinating exchange, we might glean that faith is an important aspect of leadership.
In a community of military professionals, it is entirely probable that some of you have already scoured the latest leadership doctrine. You may wonder, where in the new ADP 6-22, or even in the leadership requirements model, is the concept of faith? To answer this question, we must look closer at this exchange.
In response to the Apostles’ plea, Jesus counters that if they would have faith equivalent in size to even a mustard seed — the smallest of plant life — then they might order the sycamore tree — the largest of plant life — to do the impossible and root itself in the sea. In other words, Jesus is telling his followers, “bring yourself, bring whatever faith you can muster, and together we will achieve the unimaginable.”
What we see in this exchange, then, is a leader communicating a vision, describing how to reach the desired end state, and inspiring the will in others to reach it. This is the very essence of leadership, providing “purpose, direction, and motivation to accomplish the mission and improve the organization,” according to ADP 6-22, 1-15.
The Bible describes faith as, “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1).
While ADP 6-22’s most analogous terms might be “vision” or ‘imagination,” faith is the bridge from the present to the future, from the existing to the imagined. It stands, then, as an integral component of true leadership.
When Soldiers and leaders place faith in one another, together they accomplish the mission. So too, when we place our faith in God, he accomplishes what for us was otherwise impossible: the very salvation of our souls. Bring yourself, bring whatever faith you can muster, and God will lead you to an end state beyond imagination.
Amen and Amen.
(Editor’s note: Metz is the ethics instructor for the USACBRNS.)