Good leaders are selfless, bold and trustworthy, and they lead their communities by their actions as a lighthouse leads ships to safety.
U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones shared that message with elected officials and business and community leaders at Friday's annual Legislative Prayer Breakfast at the Turner Lake Community Center.
Jones is good friends with many local judges and was invited to speak by local Superior Court Judge Samuel Ozburn. Jones took the opportunity to speak about the traits that make leaders great and to encourage a trust in God that can lead to "bold prayers" being answered.
"I pray for everybody, because when people do better, I do better," Jones told the crowd. "We pray for leaders who want to make the sacrifice, who want to make life better for the people."
Jones said sacrifice and true concern for one's fellow man are traits that truly make a good leader and allow them to be a shining example.
"We trust you as leaders to do the right thing. We trust you to stand tall for the whole world to see, to let your light shine to lead us the right way," Jones said. "A lighthouse that shines for some ships, but not for other ships is not so good...You are the lighthouse of the community and there are citizens in the community who are dependent on you to lead them through the rocks of life or they could sink."
He shared an example of personal experience from when he was a superior court judge in the Athens region. The area was struggling with poverty and high school dropout rates, but instead of turning a blind eye, community leaders rallied together to find solutions, including the creation of a career academy which provided alternate pathways for students who may not be college-bound but could still learn a valuable and profitable skill.
"We should not walk in fear; we should walk in faith," Jones quote from the Bible, and added, "I challenge you today as leaders and citizens to think [boldly]."
He ended with a quote from former U.S. President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt.
"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure...than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."