The challenge of leadership reflected in story of Jesus

Recently, we have experienced the resignation of two leaders in our province.

Recently, we have experienced the resignation of two leaders in our province.

Our premier, Gordon Campbell resigned. He had many good qualities of leadership, but apparently was unable to continue.

This was followed by the resignation of Carole James, leader of the NDP party.

As I opened the paper I saw that the premier of our next door neighbour province, Ed Stelmach of Alberta, has resigned as well.

Whether he was pushed out or jumped, I am not too sure.

This was the same man, who just four years ago, had a landslide victory in Alberta, coming in with a substantial majority.

Mr. Stelmach, though a nice man, fell from grace and became very unpopular.

We are now caught up in the chaos in Egypt where millions are demanding the resignation of President Mubarak and want it to be immediately.

They have lost confidence in his leadership.

On the other hand, our neighbours to the south are experiencing political confusion. 

President Obama is struggling desperately to recapture some of the popularity that he had two years ago.

People are no longer impressed by his oratorical skill, and we are seeing the possibility of a one term president.

As we look at the global scene, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Argentina, Haiti, Russia, Trinidad, the Philippines, all are experiencing dissatisfaction with their leaders.

I wonder how it feels to have one million people parading in protest for days, demanding one’s resignation.

Leadership today is very stressful and even our own Prime Minister, Stephen Harper is caught in the doldrums of a minority government and many would like to see him depart.

I have been involved in church leadership for over 40 years and I have learned a few lessons and have experienced attacks, ridicule and threats of dismissal.

Every leader must be prepared to accept criticism and opposition when accepting a responsible position.

Even the greatest leader who ever lived experienced the fickleness of human behaviour.  

On Sunday the crowds cried, “Hosanna, Hosanna” as they welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem and the Friday of that same week, some of those same people were angrily calling out, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him.” They condemned Him to a cross.

Here are some qualities we should look for in selecting a leader.

1. A good leader must be a good listener. He or she must be able to listen with both heart and ears. Some leaders are so busy talking that they are too busy to listen. God gave us two ears and one mouth.

2. A good leader must be enthusiastic about his/her office. Enthusiasm is contagious.

3. A good leader must have a sense of adventure and adaptability.

4. A good leader is dedicated to the cause and will not easily back down in his/her convictions even though it may be unpopular.

5. A good leader must be able to lead by example, rather then persuasion.

6. A good leader must be reliable and honest.

Leadership is a character position.

To summarize let me use an acronym

L – is for Listener, E – is for enthusiasm A –is for adaptability, D – is for dedication, E – is for example and R – reliability.

Put them together and you get the word the word LEADER.

Fred Bock has put it this way: “My leader was born in an obscure village; He was the child of a peasant woman. He worked in a carpenter’s shop until he was thirty-three years old, and then for three years he travelled around the country, stopping long enough to talk and listen to people and help where he could. He never wrote a book. He never had a hit record, He never went to college, He never ran for public office, He never had a family or owned a house.

He never did things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself.

When he was 33-years old, the tide of public opinion turned against Him and his friends all rejected Him.

When He was arrested, very few wanted anything to do with Him. After the trial, He was executed by the State, along with admitted thieves. Only because a generous friend offered his own cemetery plot, was there any place to bury Him.

This all happened 20 centuries ago and yet today He is the leading figure of the human race and the ultimate example of love.

Now it is no exaggeration to say that, all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that have ever set sail, all the rulers that have ever ruled and all the kings and queens that have reigned on this earth, all put together have not affected the life of  man on earth like this One Solitary Life.”

His name is Jesus. He is the leader of leaders. He is my leader. Check Him out. 

Rev. Albert Baldeo is a retired United Church minister.

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