To be a leader

Watching the world news on whatever channel is becoming a torture. In one evening this week there is untold suffering in the Central African Republic. Then we switch to South Sudan, then to Iraq and we haven’t even got to Syria. A common denominator in all these conflicts seems to be that the leaders’ first goal is power. They simply do not put the interests of people first. The whole outpouring of feeling surrounding the death of Nelson Mandela was stoked by the sense that he was a

We cannot escape the fact that leaders have the power to change the world, not so much in the “developed” world where they seem hemmed in with constitutional limits to their freedom to act, but certainly in the developing world where the iron is still hot and has not taken a fixed shape. We are forced to lament this terrible dearth of leadership that leads women, children and whole communities into trauma and exile. And there is no good, in the short term, in expecting God to do anything about it. He has given us freedom and he is not going to take it back just because we mess things up.

However, he has sent us a leader and this is no trite religious comment coming without any reference to our painful situation. The period after Christmas is marked by Jesus being pointed out as “the One.” Matthew speaks of the voice that says, “you are my Beloved.” Peter speaks of him as being “anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power” and Isaiah calls him “the servant who will bring true justice to the nations.” We are talking here about a human leader, someone Ghandi had immense respect for. He is someone who “does not cry out or shout aloud or make his voice heard in the streets. He does not break the crushed reed, or quench the wavering flame.”

This leader has immense compassion for the weak and the wounded; for the poor and the women and children, exiled and traumatised by the cruelty of those for whom they do not count. And yet this leader has a clear vision of a society where the values of God are paramount. He walks urgently through the towns and villages announcing the good news that the time has come. “Today this is being fulfilled even as you listen.” His work is urgent but it will not come quickly. It will grow at the pace of a seed. It will transform in the way of leaven.

To be a leader is a beautiful thing and you can see how they relish the moment of success. Most leaders, I would like to think, start out with good intentions to really make a difference. But then many get side-tracked. May 2014 be a year when the call to be a leader is taken up humbly, compassionately and urgently. – Ngomakurira

Post published in: Opinions & Analysis

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