Equestrian Servants and Pedestrian Princes
A man’s friendships are important things. They shape his life as much as any other thing. The cultivation of a personal friendship with God can only be matched by the cultivation of a friendship with one’s fellow man. Indeed, perhaps the highest and closest relation possible between two people is friendship.
The basis of all true friendship is sympathy – that is, fellow-feeling. It involves mutual, unquestioning trust. In fact, the meaning of the word friend in Greek is “one who loves.” A friend is one who loves you for your sake alone, regardless of any return, even return-love.
I say all this because I have been thinking lately of a man I consider my friend. This friend also happens to be a candidate for the presidency of the United States. His name is Michael Peroutka. I consider him to be one of my choicest friends, and I have found him to be one of the most dedicated Christians it has been my privilege to know. His private life is fragrant, and his public speech is always salted with kindness and grace.
It is extremely fascinating to me to follow the candidacy of this friend of mine. His leadership role in the Constitution Party has catapulted him into a place of prominence in one sphere of American life, but by and large he remains an “unknown” to most Americans. Let me suggest that the Bible has a word to say about this kind of man.
Ecclesiastes 10:7 says, “I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth.” This interesting verse, using irony, refers to equestrian servants and pedestrian princes. The writer’s point is that it is better to be a prince on foot than a servant on horseback.
We all know servants on horseback. I am referring to incompetent men who have been promoted to high positions while far better men take a lower place. History is full of these equestrian servants – kings or rulers or even U.S. presidents who should have been run out of town, while men far greater than they lived in obscurity. In the church we have seen mediocre men enjoy the “chief seats in the synagogue” while truly great servants of the Lord ministered in Timbuktu.
To me, Michael Peroutka is a prince who is content to “walk upon the earth.” In my 52 years on this earth I have noticed that God’s choicest servants are always willing to walk now and ride later. Faithful over a few things, God is usually preparing them to be made rulers over many things. Meanwhile, however, they are happy to travel through the misty lowlands of obscurity as pedestrians while others, less noble and gifted, prance around on horseback.
Like the apostle Paul who did “one thing” (Phil. 3:13), Michael Peroutka is completely sold out to the cause of Christ – and the U.S. Constitution. This is a stark contrast with many of our current politicians who are sold out to nothing. Their energies are frittered away in all directions as they aim at everything and hit nothing. They find a man like Michael Peroutka to be very disturbing. They can’t see why anyone should get so worked up over Christian and constitutional principles. Such red-hot devotion reveals their spineless zeal and rebukes their apathy.
God, of course, is the only one who knows whether Michael will go from being a pedestrian to an equestrian. We are content to leave the issue in the hands of Providence. One thing is sure, however. Michael Peroutka is no half-way Christian. He honors God by attempting great things for Him while expecting great things from Him. He has asked for a mountain while many of us have settled for a molehill.
I am humbled and honored to consider such a man my friend.
July 21, 2004
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com. His latest book is Why I Stopped Listening to Rush: Confessions of a Recovering Neocon.