LCN Article
All Eyes on the Goal!

September / October 2012

Roderick C. Meredith (1930-2017)

Dear Brethren and Friends, A powerful maxim nearly all leaders advocate is: “Keep your eye on the ball.” We know that our own ultimate goal is to be born into the Kingdom of God as firstfruits at the return of Jesus Christ, who said: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

For many, the immediate goal is just to “get there”—to make it into God’s Kingdom. That is understandable. But apart from personal selfishness and the powerful instinct of self-preservation, what specifically should we be thinking about and preparing for as we go through our day-to-day lives, and as we try—with God’s help—to “grow in grace and in knowledge”?

After all, our real goal is not to “float around heaven all day with nothing to do.” Our actual future job, our wonderful responsibility and opportunity in Christ’s soon-coming world government, will be to serve as kings and priests. We will be assisting Jesus Christ in teaching the entire world the right way to live, and helping to organize and guide the human societies and institutions in the Kingdom of God to follow the “Way” of God. This is why it is vital that we think now about the reality of Christ’s government, and that we meditate on how we should prepare to assist Christ and be ready to do our part when we are changed (or resurrected from the dead) and given the responsibility to rule this world under the living Christ.

Remember, Jesus Christ directly prophesied that this will be the job of all true saints! In the famous parable of the pounds (or “minas,” as the New King James Version more precisely translates this passage), Jesus rewards the servant who has been faithful in using his talents in this life: “Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities” (Luke 19:17). To another, who had been less zealous but still faithful, Jesus said, “you also be over five cities” (v. 19).

As revealed throughout the entire Bible, the job or responsibility of God’s faithful saints will be to assist Jesus Christ in ruling and bringing peace to this confused world. Daniel was inspired to tell us that, after the coming Beast and False Prophet are put down, “Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him” (Daniel 7:27).

To those who are “overcomers,” Jesus directly promised: “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; they shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—as I also have received from My Father” (Revelation 2:26–27). For, in His awesome Plan, the Eternal God has “made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:10).

Dear brethren, please meditate on the reality of Christ’s coming Kingdom—His righteous government soon to be set up on this earth! And meditate on the opportunity each one of us who overcomes will have to assist Christ in bringing order, peace, prosperity and joy to a world that today is overflowing with war, violence, rape, torture, starvation, disease and suffering! We should deeply look forward to this very real opportunity we will be given to genuinely help our fellow human beings in a way that all the “do-gooders” on earth today, despite their noble intentions, are simply not able. For we—as resurrected Spirit Beings—will be filled with God’s Holy Spirit and the fullness of His knowledge, wisdom, love and big-mindedness, far beyond the capacity of mortal human beings.

Describing Christ’s coming government, God tells us, “He will bring justice to the poor of the people; He will save the children of the needy, and will break in pieces the oppressor” (Psalm 72:4). As millions of the survivors of the coming Great Tribulation come streaming back to the land of Israel after their prophesied national captivity, we who have overcome will be there to help and comfort them as “the blind and lame” return, as “they shall come with weeping and with supplications” (Jeremiah 31:7–9). We will be there to help them understand that the eternal God finally had to intervene to prevent the human race from totally exterminating all life from this planet—as Jesus prophesied (Matthew 24:22).

As mankind increasingly descends into total anarchy and rebellion against the laws and ways of God—people murdering their own unborn children by the millions, men “marrying” men and following various ideas of “man-boy love,” bestiality and every form of perversion, increasing incidence of AIDS and other disease epidemics brought about by all the above, finally leading to cannibalism, utter hopelessness and suicide—Almighty God will eventually say, “Enough!

He will intervene and send Jesus Christ back to earth—this time as King of kings. And we, if we truly overcome, will be there to help Him wipe away every tear, right every wrong and bring about a truly righteous society, “the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21).

But are you, personally, genuinely preparing to play your part as a king, a judge, a teacher and a leader in this coming world government?

Think! What do you know about how to run a city, how to organize a righteous educational system or how to “judge” in the disputes among peoples and nations? In general, God does not call the great leaders of the world at this time (1 Corinthians 1:26). So, obviously, our Father in heaven will have to give us special wisdom, help and guidance through His Holy Spirit in our future responsibilities. He will certainly do that—as the entire Bible indicates. But above and beyond that, what should we be doing now to prepare for our future responsibilities? What kind of people did God use in the past in His government? Does this give us a vital clue as to what He will do in the future?

In ancient Israel, we find the first description of God’s kind of organized government. In Exodus 18, we read the explanation of how Moses had been trying to do everything himself, and so was guided to appoint others to help him. We see that God’s government is always by appointmentnot in any case by politicking or voting. God led Moses’ father-in-law Jethro to advise him to appoint others to judge individual situations under Moses’ overall guidance. He instructed Moses, “Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens” (Exodus 18:21).

Brethren, all of us—men and women—need to be such people, who “fear God” and are people of truth, hating covetousness and dedicated completely to God’s way in every situation. As each of us in our own lives learn to stand up for Truth, and strive to be totally fair and honest in all our dealings, this certainly will help us qualify to be kings and priests in Christ’s government. We should always strive to take the time to get “all the facts” if we are making significant decisions. We should heed God’s instruction, which He repeats over and over in the book of Proverbs: “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14).symbols of mankinds government

We should also genuinely study in detail the laws and statutes of God. We should go over and over them to see how they apply to various situations. Think about the fact that the man God Himself will use as king over all Israel, King David, did exactly that (Hosea 3:5). For David was inspired to tell us: “Princes also sit and speak against me, but Your servant meditates on Your statutes. Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors” (Psalm 119:23–24). Further on, David stated: “My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on Your statutes” (v. 48). So, King David of ancient Israel—the “man after God’s own heart”—constantly thought about and meditated on God’s statutes,  turning them over and over in his mind to see how they might apply in his job as king over all Israel. For he had to make many hundreds of decisions affecting the nation as a whole, and affecting people’s individual problems that were brought to him. This is the kind of meditation you and I must do on a regular basis in order to prepare ourselves to be kings and priests in Christ’s government!

Also, as stated, we must meditate and pray and ask God for His help and guidance in having the attitude of servant leadership in all that we do. As we approach our jobs as future kings and priests in the Kingdom of God, we must each think, “How can I genuinely help and serve these wonderful people given into my care? How can I be sensitive to their needs and help them and guide them in the right way, even though they may not at first understand God’s law or His government? How can I carry out this responsibility in a way that will encourage and inspire people to do what is right? How can I do all these things in an attitude of ‘service’—not just trying to ‘show off’ my power and authority?”

Remember, when His disciples were discussing who would be the “greatest,” Jesus told them: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25–28).

God will be able to use ancient King David, because David learned this approach in ruling over Israel. God will be especially able to use him in the overall direction of all twelve tribes of Israel because David had experience in doing just that! Since we in the Living Church of God do practice God’s government, as best we can, in approaching the activities of the Church, we should each try to get right in the middle of God’s Church—taking part in the socials, in the Living Leadership Course classes, in the Spokesman Club, in preparing for and helping during the Feast activities and in preparing for and helping set up and follow through with the various duties involving our Tomorrow’s World Special Presentations, and in so many other ways. Then, as we learn to work together as a “team,” submitting to one another in the fear of God, we will be learning the attitude of servant leadership. We will gain valuable practice in carrying out God’s approach to government in many different ways. This can carry right on over into God’s Kingdom, where we can use the same experience and the same approach in genuinely serving even millions of human beings, over time, bringing them to a way of life that will fulfill their hopes and dreams more than anything they have ever before experienced.

In all of the above, we need to put into practice the direct word of God first—above all other ideas and advice. Learn to truly “saturate” your heart and mind with Scripture, so you learn to “think like God thinks.” As Jesus said, “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me” (John 6:57). And, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (v. 63). Also, if you are a fast reader and have the time, I would suggest that you read and think about vital lessons given in the biographies and autobiographies of great leaders—men and women. Often, their lives will give various examples and “clues” as to what makes a person a real leader and how a genuine leader should function. God tells us, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20). So, although we cannot personally “walk” with every wise man, we may partially “see” many of them in action, heed their advice and follow their example, as we study well-written biographies and autobiographies and other books describing their leadership.

In this regard, one of the most helpful books along the lines of management and leadership I have read in my 82 years of life is the seminal work of Peter Drucker—often called “the Dean” of management. He is regarded as one of the greatest thinkers in the field of management, and is often referred to by other top managers, leaders and writers. For he, personally, was paid large sums to consult and advise top leaders of nations and major corporations. Mr. Drucker explains how a top leader ought to focus on “contribution,” on what actually happens, on the results of what happens through his work. That is the approach we need to take as we think about and prepare for serving others in Tomorrow’s World. He writes:

“The focus on contribution turns the executive’s attention away from his own specialty, his own narrow skills, his own department, and toward the performance of the whole. It turns his attention to the outside, the only place where there are results. He is likely to have to think through what relationships his skills, his specialty, his function, or his department have to the entire organization and its purpose. He therefore will also come to think in terms of the customer, the client, or the patient, who is the ultimate reason for whatever the organization produces, whether it be economic goods, governmental policies, or health services” (The Effective Executive, p. 53).

Brethren, as you and I think about our own coming contribution in the government of Tomorrow’s World, we also must think about the “Big Picture”—the purpose of our service to so many millions of human beings and the ultimate reason for the Kingdom of God. As we do so, we will better understand and prepare to assist Christ in putting into place an entire new world arrangement—affecting the social lives, the family lives, the working lives and the educational and legal systems governing billions throughout the entire earth! This will help us to know the type of books we should be reading and studying—and results we should hope to achieve, under Christ’s direction, as we help Him reorganize the whole world according to God’s law!

In preparing for top leadership in Tomorrow’s World, it is vital that we come to deeply understand the genuine needs of every type of human being. We need to understand the different needs and aspirations of old people, young people, black people, white people, men, women and so many other different aspects of the human condition. Rather than be sidetracked by the misguided focus of today’s “political correctness,” we need to study the book of Genesis—all of the Bible—along with history and current events to realize that different people have different strengths and weaknesses. People of different ages and nationalities, who have been through different experiences in the tragedies of this present age, will need different approaches in how we instruct them and help them overcome in order to develop God’s character and a truly happy society in Tomorrow’s World. So, it is important that we try to learn to “understand” people: the way they think, the way they feel—the way they really are. The great leaders will generally have a broad-based approach to people through having had contact with many different kinds of men and women throughout their entire lives. Ideally, in most cases, such a leader will have been married, had children and a reasonably sized family, and thus have learned to perceive people’s different types of approaches. Such leaders will be well able to love those God has put under their care, just as they do their own relatives, understanding their problems and showing genuine love as they help and teach them to overcome.

All too often in today’s society, men and women bury themselves in watching inane programs on television—the false “reality” created in Hollywood and elsewhere. They may play weird computer games that absorb their attention with unrealistic situations and a whole unrealistic world—often totally unlike what they would see in the genuine men and women in the world around them. As a result, many are unable to empathize with, to understand, to “feel for” real people—and are unable to gain the respect and love of other people around them. Unless they change, this will make them unable to lead others.

Another danger—faced especially by younger people—is the tremendous infatuation so many have with the computer and with computer-related “information.” Peter Drucker describes how important it is for a leader to perceive the “big picture” and trends and changes in the world that a leader has to understand. He writes:

“Such changes, however, have to be perceived; they cannot be counted, defined, or classified. The classifications still produce the expected figures—as they did for Edsel. But the figures no longer correspond to actual behavior.

The computer is a logic machine, and that is its strength—but also its limitation. The important events on the outside cannot be reported in the kind of form a computer (or any other logic system) could possibly handle. Man, however, while not particularly logical, is perceptive—and that is his strength.

The danger is that executives will become contemptuous of information and stimulus that cannot be reduced to computer logic and computer language. Executives may become blind to everything that is perception (i.e., event) rather than fact (i.e., after the event). The tremendous amount of computer information may thus shut out access to reality.

Eventually the computer—potentially by far the most useful management tool—should make executives aware of their insulation and free them for more time on the outside. In the short run, however, there is danger of acute ‘computeritis.’ It is a serious affliction” (The Effective Executive, p. 17).

In the end, we all need to go “back to the beginning” as Mr. Armstrong did. We need to reread and meditate upon Genesis 1:26, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’” As we study, pray, fast and meditate on God’s purpose in making us in His image, we will be better equipped to genuinely help thousands or even millions of other human beings achieve the ultimate purpose which God has in mind for all of us. We will try to sincerely think through the details of how we might help human beings under our care in Tomorrow’s World achieve the ultimate reason for their existence. We will try not to become too involved in all the twists and turns and details in today’s world—its movies, television programs, computer games and the “information overload” provided by myriads of modern books, magazines, newspapers and computer-related reports.

Instead, we should often go outside, slowly and thoughtfully look up at the sky and ponder—as King David did—the really big questions of life, “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:4–5).

Truly, we have been made a “little lower” than the angels for a while. However, our ultimate destiny is awesome. Let us thoughtfully and prayerfully prepare in a consistent, genuine and prayerful way for that wonderful destiny.

With Christian love,

Roderick C. Meredith signature