Grace and Truth

by Pastor Jack Hyles

(Chapter 13 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Grace and Truth)


Most Americans agree that one of our great needs is to develop men of decision and leadership. This article will not attempt to exhaust the information on this subject nor will it even be repetitious of other articles this au' thor has written along the same line. It will just be a few thoughts gathered one morning while thinking and walking and walking and thinking. Maybe these thoughts will help some boy to become a man, or for that matter, some man to become a man.

1. The man should fill every need that he sees. Men should be need-fillers. Any need should become a challenge.

In the army some men become officers because they attend Officer's Candidate School and still others become officers because of an emergency that arises on the battlefield. Perhaps the commanding officer is suddenly killed or injured. At that point some enlisted man rises to the occasion, takes the place of leadership and spontaneously fills the position of an officer. This kind of promotion is usually the wisest one, for to be a leader one must consider every need a challenge and must become a need-filler.

2. A man should correct every mistake he sees. A leader is always a fixer. Something broken should become a challenge. Bill Harvey once said to me, "Brother Jack, do not go to Italy." I couldn't understand what he meant. I asked him, "Why shouldn't I go to Italy?" He said, "The Leaning Tower of Pisa is there, and you will try to straighten it up." Of course, he was kidding and yet in a sense this should be the reaction of every leader. If something is broken, fix it. Do not ever enjoy seeing something broken. If a 2' x 4' is in the road, move it. Accept it as your own responsibility to fix everything you see broken. This will help one to become a man.

3. A man should do well everything that he does. No job is an unimportant job. The right kind of leader is a perfectionist.

It would be wonderful for every Christian, and especially every leader, to take Ecclesiastes 9:10 as his life's verse. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest." What the writer is saying is that everything we do, we should do it with all our might. Certainly this should be true about the leader, whether it is playing sports, working at a job, rearing children, building a church or whatever it is, we should give it all that we have. This is masculine and will help one become a man of decision and leadership.

4. Strength will listen to and consider the advice of others. One of my preacher boys once said, "I'm old enough now not to need counsel or advice. I don't need to ask Brother Hyles what he thinks any more. It is time I became man enough to make my own decisions." This statement itself is a statement of weakness. Weakness cannot stand up in the face of counsel. It must avoid counsel. Strength can stand counsel and insists upon receiving it. This does not mean it will always be taken, but it does mean that it will always be considered. Certainly this is part of becoming masculine and a manly leader.

5. Masculinity insists on being the giver, not the receiver. When I think of this I think of my late Uncle Harvey Harris, who was a dear friend and a wonderful man of character and leadership. He wouldn't eat if he couldn't pay the bill. He couldn't enjoy a meal if someone else paid for it. This to an extent is true in the case of any strong leader. He gets more joy in giving than receiving. Of course, this goes back to the same teaching of fixing things that are broken, providing for things that are needed, etc. Leadership is on the fixing end, the giving end and the supplying end; leadership enjoys it more than being on the receiving end.

6. The leader would rather do the work than get the title. Accomplishment is always better than title or position. Recently while I was in a college class I picked out one of the most famous churches in America, one with history and tradition. I asked the college class to tell me the name of the pastor. Less than 10 percent knew his name. I then called off the name of a church that is just a few years old that has had phenomenal growth. I asked the members of the class to tell me the name of that pastor. All of them knew his name. This was to illustrate that it is far better to do the work than to get the position. One man had done a great work and was well known. The other man had accepted the pastorate of a church with great tradition and history and consequently held a great position but was not so well known. Real men are not desirous of position or fame. They are desirous of an opportunity to do something for God and for others.

7. To be a real man one must obey himself. He must develop his will in order to make his body and mind obey his will. The most rebellious person to me is me. The leader must obey his will. He must say to his body in the morning, "Get up." He must say to his body sometimes, "You can't eat now." Other times he must say, "You can't eat that particular food." He certainly cannot rule others until he can rule himself. This is why the wise man said that he is greater that ruleth his own spirit than he that conquereth a city.

8. A leader should not use as his ONLY right for leadership the fact that the Bible gives him authority. For example, the Bible does say that servants should obey their masters; citizens, their leaders; wives, their husbands; and children, their parents, but the wise leader will accept his place of responsibility, not only because it is given to him Scripturally, but he will want to be strong enough to merit the place of leadership.

These thoughts are nowhere near exhaustive; they are simply a few thoughts I had while meditating down a path in the woods one day.


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