To anyone who leads – mothers for their kids, older siblings to younger, men in relationship, fathers to families, business managers to employees, friend to friend, those who know to those who do not, individuals in power to those who are not, and teammate to sports team – God gives us stark warning. Leadership is either about community or self, towards the God of compassion and mercy or away, healthy or exploitive. While no person can achieve perfect leadership in life, we are accountable for our journey.
If you don’t think a record is being kept, be forewarned; even the enemies of Judah were within God’s prevue. “You sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem into slavery to the Greeks in faraway places.” (Joel 3.6)
One of my favorite examples is Ernst Shakleton. While the voyage was an outcome of Shakleton’s ego, once the ship and those in it were trapped in the Antarctic ice Shakleton’s true values and priorities were obvious. Shakleton only cared about the community, every last person in it no matter how much he liked or disliked the individual. Shakleton took tough decisions where any choice was as likely to end in death as living for another day in a way that demonstrated his unwavering commitment to the greater good. There was no need to explain or justify his action, everyone present knew his motives.
I wish the same could be same for me today. I wish something along these lines was a descriptor that was attached to everyone who leads. In the midst of the battle, when others are dying, losing their jobs, be unfairly crucified, being slandered, or just being vilified, it is so easy to lose sight of what really matters. What others think of me is not an item on the top-ten list of things critical! How much fodder I generate for the gossip mill need not determine my choice in this moment. Life is about living, community, and being part of both. God is a active part of this life. Question is; do we want to live, really live?