At the time this is being written, the 4th of July is just in our rear-view mirror. That means that America as a country celebrated our independence. Our country is far from perfect and is often a highlighted example of problems that we see globally. However, often looking back at times of war, I see such remarkable things. It is said that war can bring out the best and the worst in us all. I tend to see the best. In watching the Patriot, I proudly see much of the best traits of America’s foundation on display. In particular, I see a tenacity and a courageous persistance. I also am reminded of the importance of leadership and vision.
As a leader of your household, your business, your team, your church, you must embody that same tenacity and persistence. You must have the vision implanted so deeply within you that no amount of tragedy that may befall you, will not uproot it. The legacy and future of that which you lead depends on it. A handful of months ago, I was at a point in one of my leadership roles where I had lost the vision. I began feeling sorry for myself and began having escape fantasies, wondering about possible joy being found in anything, but my present circumstance. I was brought back from this when needing to cast vision to my team. I was forced to remind myself first of the vision.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)
I replanted the seed of vision that day and now must remain faithful in watering it. As a leader if I lose the vision, so do those that follow. In the Patriot, after the death of Benjamin Martin’s (Mel Gibson) son, Gabriel Martin (Heath Ledger), Martin loses the vision. He entered the war under specific purpose; it was to protect a son and avenge another. Once the one who was to be protected had passed, he lost his resolve and had determined he was done. However, in the next scene, he finds the old tattered flag that had been patched together so lovingly and he gains a new vision, a deeper vision, a vision of freedom. We then see him galloping, flag in hand, across the line of sauntering, dejected troops and like a wave igniting the spirits and pouring wind in their sails.
Sometimes seeing a leader catch the vision is enough. That flag had become their cue for the vision.
One of the most inspiring scenes in the movie comes toward the end as we see the troops finally engaged in full scale battle. They employ excellent strategy to get the upper hand on the British and then begin to lose heart. The men begin to flee. Watch this video and see the value of courageous leadership and vision, especially when hope begins to wane.
The men rallied around the flag. Seeing that cue, they followed it back into danger, not simply because it was going that way, but because seeing it waving high reminded them of the vision. It reminded them that they fought for a purpose and if it was still waving tall, so could they.
Christians, our leader has given us a visual cue, His cross.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 NIV
Christ died with our freedom as his aim. We have acheived that victory, if we believe in Him. Now we are simply left on the field to run up the score against the enemy. Let us not retreat like so many are apt to do. Let us not look at the enemy charging us and flee in fear. Let us turn our eyes upon Jesus. Let us see His cross and be reminded of the vision.