A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in (Greek proverb).
As the kings of Judah went, Hezekiah wasn’t too bad and better than most. But he did not finish his life on a high note. Because he ostentatiously displayed his wealth before Judah’s enemies, his descendants would suffer calamity.
Hezekiah should have been troubled by this, but he was not. He piously accepted the verdict because in his mind he realized that he would be dead and gone by the time it came to pass. “So Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘The word of the Lord which you have spoken is good!’ For he said, ‘At least there will be peace and truth in my days’" (Isaiah 39:8, NKJV). He was so shortsighted that he couldn’t see how his actions had doomed the generation to follow.
Does the Hezekiah Syndrome still exist among leaders today?
Like Hezekiah, we are all frail, flawed human beings. Even the best of us can become short-sighted, mortgaging the future at the expense of the present. How does this happen?
Essentially it happens when we choose to serve self rather than to serve others. Leaders can sometimes act in a self-centered fashion. Though the next generation would perish, Hezekiah said, “Well, at least I’ll be okay.” Do we think the same?
A self-centered perspective invariably manifests itself in either one of two ways, pride or fear, either self-preference or self-protection. We can become myopic in our thinking, just as Hezekiah did, and only see ourselves, the duration of our season of influence. We can also become intimidated, fearful that the demands of the hour are beyond us.
The big question for leaders is succession. Opportunity is only for a season. In humility, servant leaders focus on what will happen after they are gone.
Written by Brett Selby