Monday, May 24, 2010

The Philosopher King

It was Plato, the ancient Greek philosopher whose hypothesis tells us that for a perfect State or republic to exist, then the leader of a nation would need to be a king and a philosopher. Such a person would be, as Christ put it, a “King and a Priest”. A true leader would conform to the concept of Plato’s hypothesis, especially as it was confirmed by Christ hundreds of years later. This indicates that a true winner is a person like King David, who was anointed both as a King over a nation as well as an Oracle of God. King David wrote that;
“No king achieves victory with a large army. No warrior rescues himself by his own great strength...We wait for the Lord. He is our help and our shield.”

The leader needs a winning philosophy. This philosophy should have divine inspiration. Such a person is one “that fears the LORD. He is the one whom the Lord will teach which path to choose. He will enjoy good things in life...” Such a leader would have certain characteristics in his approach to his path in life. These qualities are possible to develop and adhere to, by the grace of God. David defines such a leader as “The one who makes a promise and does not break it, even though he is hurt by it.” We know that good kings and leaders do not break their words. This is why God told us not to swear by the Bible, but that when we say yes or no let it be so.

The winner is usually a leader of people; he is given authority, he has the power of victory, he has the qualities of a king. He recognises the hand of God in his winning ways. He will acknowledge this as King David did in saying;
“Thank the Lord, my rock, who trained my hands to fight and my fingers to do battle...and the one who brings people under my authority.” The best leaders of all times include people whose actions and words we try to copy. People like Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa and many others. There are some general qualities that one finds in these types of winners. They are;

Vision. Leaders have a vision of their goals in life. American Helen Keller once said, “The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight
but no vision.” If your goal is merely to win at things, without any other divine long term purpose, then you have missed the point. You will become like Samson, who misused his power, or Saul who debased his crown.

Faith. Your vision cannot be actioned if you have little faith in God and in yourself. You become a king like Mike Tyson, who had no control over himself, and had faith in everyone else but God. Faith gives you a winning attitude.

Discipline. Leaders know that it is important to stick to plans and set goals and to have the strength of character to achieve the results desired.

Conviction. Leaders also know that success and the maintenance of winning ways requires conviction, which is a form of faith.

Humanism. Great champions are compassionate. They have an interest in the progress and happiness of others. Leaders love and receive love. Young David was so loved by the people that it directly led to the downfall of King Saul.

Integrity. Leaders ensure that they are known for their forthrightness and consistency of character. People can bet on their words. Great kings have immeasurable integrity.

Hard Working. Winners do not expect every plan they make to come to fruition without a great deal of toil and sweat. A great leader prays and prepares with equal fervour.

Orator. Leaders discover that they will need to express their philosophies and action plans to their admirers, followers and even rivals. The leader should do everything possible to improve his oratorical and writing skills.

Pursuing Excellence. The Leader pursues excellence with a passion.

Vision. The hallmark of a leader is hinged on the word excellence. The leader is one who excels in many things, even if recognised for one or two.

Undaunted. Indomitable Spirit is a quality that a leader must have. The leader accepts no defeat but strives till the very end. If he loses a physical crown, he returns to reclaim it.

Studious. The leader constantly studies and researches materials related to his field of activity and related areas. Knowledge is power and power is one of the elements that provides victory. King Solomon, was a king with astounding wisdom and knowledge. His enemies simply bowed to him.

The winner is a King because he excels and has people under his authority. He is also a priest because all the achievements are ordained by God Almighty. Sometimes, leaders operate within an institution that negates divine presence. A leader may, for instance, be asked to join or lead a union, or group, whose main desires are contrary to God’s will. The leader may flow along with God, and in leading such a group, he gets a chance to redirect their thoughts and actions to be in accordance to God’s will. This is a practice of priesthood. A priest or minister of God is not merely a person ordained in a religious ceremony by humans, but one pre-ordained by the Holy Spirit, and thus empowered supernaturally.

A supernatural leader is a philosopher-king. Such a person is on a Golden Path. The import of that path is not discerned by those to whom God has not given the vision. However, the devil is able to see that such people are anointed, even if it does not know their divine programme. That is where the challenge comes for leaders, and hence the need for priestly as well as kingly anointing. Without the priestly anointing, the winner has no spiritual authority and cannot engage in spiritual warfare when necessary. Without the kingly anointing the leader does not compel human follower-ship. He would be lacking in authority over human or in human affairs.


The leader has a winning philosophy which guides his Golden Path. This is why the sayings of some of the greatest men in history are often quoted. Much of what a true leader says is often divinely inspired. That is why such words are often on marble. A philosopher is one who loves wisdom. Such a person studies, meditates and is open minded. He is the type of person that the Lord teaches in his heart rather than wait for human teachers. A philosopher-king is contemplative and sensitive to the inner stirrings of the spirit of God within.

Many military and business leaders have a knack for finding the quick and easy way to win in their endeavours. This habitual short cut is caused by the feeling that the battles or contracts chased are the true depictions of their talents and success in life. Unfortunately, such practices are often un-enduring and are empirically and spiritually valueless. It is these types of leaders that say that they are successful but unhappy. Many of our world political and business heroes fall into this category. They give nothing to mankind but an exhibition of talent, and they are quickly forgotten when the talents starts to wane. Muhammad Ali gave talent, love and religious inspiration to many. He showed conviction and resilience. He showed courage under fire and never complained. He will not be quickly forgotten; even by generations to come.

The philosopher-king is one who has a programme that is ten years ahead of everyone else’s. Such a winner plans for translating physical talent to spiritual endowment. The philosopher-king is both a champion and a leader. He is an embodiment of one with knowledge, wisdom and discernment. Such a winner can express selfless love – Agape. Such a leader would rather serve than exploit people. Because he is also a “priest” he is also a representative of the Lord amongst men.

The winner should be a preacher, and what he or she preaches should have divine input. To become a philosopher-king, you need to start with the King of all Kings. The one who anointed David and Solomon, and who appointed us to be “kings and priest”. The One whose gift to you is a “crown of fine gold” that the gates of hell cannot prevail over.

(c) George Ashiru
(From the book "The Golden Path"
The Institute for Transformational Leadership.

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