By Joel A Hess –
“It’s better to live one day as a lion than a sheep for a hundred years” – Donald Trump and Benito Mussolini
Whether or not Donald Trump knew this quote was taken from the il Duce, the baldheaded embarrassment to both dictators and Italians, doesn’t matter. What does matter is that he desires to own and live by this quote. It should be noted that the original author of the quote was eventually mocked by the Germans, who really know how to do dictatorship, and dragged naked through the streets by his own people. I’m not sure Mussolini’s words are ingredients for success.
At first, most people probably like this pedestrian proverb. Be honest, it’s right up there with “live fast and die young.” In other words, it’s a cheap rock star quote. We should not desire a rock star to be president. At the very least he could have quoted David Lee Roth, “I used to jog but the ice cubes kept falling out of my glass.” Watch out for rock star politicians. Essentially this is what Nazism is — an art movement far more than it was any sort of political movement.
But what concerns me more is the peculiar love for Trump among so-called “Christians.” Though I would guess many of them come from mega churches where the cult of personality is the chief organizing principle. Now, I know that one does not have to be a Christian to be a good governor. I don’t vote for a candidate because they are Christian or more Christian than the others.
Still, the quote mentioned above is a completely unchristian quote. For if God’s people are compared to any animal in Scripture, it’s sheep! All of humanity is sheep! Wandering, stuck, stubborn, foolish, lost, lead, dead, hostile, or found sheep.
Indeed, it is humiliating to think of oneself as a sheep. This is something Donald Trump would never admit to, which makes him a dangerous leader, but also a great person to have a drink or two with. Quite frankly, America has had cocky asses as leaders in the past and has survived—Andrew Jackson to name one, so no one should be freaking out. Yes, I know many pretend to freak out. That’s their job.
We pastors don’t like to be sheep, either. Be honest, fellow pastors. Like running for president, someone who speaks in front of a large group of people must have some ego. And yes, we often go by the title, Shepherd, one who leads sheep. We do, but we are still sheep before the Lord; we are helpless animals who need a leader in every way. Though, we would much like to be the Lion. We would like to be the hero of the “silly as it sounds” blogosphere. We want to be the savior of the Church and the Lion who rescues the poor pitiful sheep, but we are not. So put away those aspirations or God will put them away for you. Plenty of Lions have been shot in the Church, even by our Lord. And rightfully so.
There is only one Lion: the Lion of Judah. Thank God it is not me, nor Trump, nor Mussolini. It is the one who came to serve rather than to be served. It is the one who helps those who do not and cannot help themselves. It is the one who laid down His life, not for an idea or principle, but for those who hated him. He didn’t run for office because we would never vote Him in, not even the nerds at Bob Jones University.
He tore the office away from its usurper, Satan. He immediately went looking for His sheep, lost sheep, dead sheep, rioting sheep, dirty sheep, abortionist sheep, sexually immoral sheep, lying sheep, politician sheep, you and me. Through His Church He’s still searching, finding, reviving.
So I would rather be a sheep than a Lion any day. By God’s grace, I will dwell in green pastures for far longer than 100 years.