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Thu, Oct

True Leadership

Typography
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Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”—Genesis 1:28


Man was created for leadership. That is exactly what our opening scripture says. When God created man, He mandated him to be in charge of all His creation. It is important to note that this was not just for man’s selfish interest, but for the interest of all and invariably for the glory of God. However, the struggle for leadership has been the bane of man since Adam.
Now, history is replete with casualties of the struggles for leadership. Communities have been wiped out and nations have been thrown into unnecessary wars, all because of man’s inordinate ambition for leadership.

The wars in Liberia, Somalia, Rwanda and many other countries were precipitated by blind leadership tussles. In Somalia, for example there were up to 27 different warring factions as at 1997. Our country, Nigeria, is not spared either–our history is chequered with political upheavals as a result of leadership rivalries.
Even Bible times had their own fair share of leadership tussles. It actually started in heaven when Lucifer fell because of his inordinate ambition to lead. Adam fell because he wanted more than God gave him. The problem of Cain, when he murdered his brother, was that of leadership. He just could not accept the fact that his brother Abel was preferred. Absalom died in a desperate bid to wrest the throne from his father, David. The reason for all such struggles is a gross lack of understanding of the essence of leadership. If men would truly understand what leadership is all about, they would struggle less for it.
It is indisputable that the major problem of our time is basically lack of true leadership. If that problem must be solved, a clear understanding of what constitutes leadership is therefore inevitable. So what is leadership? Now the subject of leadership is so wide and multi-faceted that it cannot be adequately discussed in few words. This is, therefore, just an effort to shed light on it in such a way that an average man will grasp exactly what to do to activate his leadership potential.

The question of who a leader is, and what constitutes leadership, is as old as time itself. It was the basis of the argument that ensued among the disciples of Jesus in the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 20 verses 20-26, where Jesus defined leadership in a most profound way. “Whosoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant,” He said.

Leadership, then, is nothing but service!

The question of who a leader is, and what constitutes leadership, is as old as time itself. It was the basis of the argument that ensued among the disciples of Jesus in the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 20 verses 20-26, where Jesus defined leadership in a most profound way. “Whosoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant,” He said.
Leadership, then, is nothing but service! And Jesus further demonstrated this when he washed the feet of His disciples. He also corrected their misconception of leadership when He said, “You call me `Teacher’ and `Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (John 13:13-15)
Now, the Bible is replete with examples of this type of leadership. One such leader is Joshua. He was a man who was unusually committed to service. He served Moses wholeheartedly. Numbers 11:28 reveals that Joshua served Moses from his youth. Actually, Joshua 1:1 refers to him as the servant of Moses. As a matter of fact, it was in the place of tireless service that he earned the leadership position. Other examples were Joseph, Jephthah, David, Daniel, Paul, Timothy – the list is endless.
Now, we have similar examples of such leadership in recent history. Among these is Dr. Nelson Mandela, who virtually laid down his life for his country. In serving his people as a freedom advocate, he spent 27 years in prison for what the Apartheid Government called “inciting revolution to overthrow the Government.” Then, at a time when all hope of freedom appeared lost, he was not only released, but also became the first black president of his country.
To understand leadership from Jesus’ perspective, therefore, is to understand that service is at the core of meaningful leadership. In fact, for us to manifest our divinely imparted leadership potential, we must resolve to serve. A true leader, then is the man who is well prepared, looking out for every opportunity to serve. Such will naturally attract the submission of the people he serves. The foundation of stability, effectiveness and fulfilment in leadership is service, rather than the desire for self-gratification. As Robert Greenleaf said, “If things are ever going to change for the better in the society, only natural servants ought to lead.”
Ironically, the struggles of many for leadership are not the struggles to serve but for self-satisfaction and sharp practices. There is, therefore, an urgent need for true leadership in every facet of our society today. And since the demand is not natural, it will require the man or woman who will truly lead to understand that:
He or she has been created for significance, and the guaranteed place of significance is the place of service.
It is impossible to serve except as inspired divinely – maintaining constant fellowship with God. Now this may sound a little vague, but I would like to help you further by advising that, to seek this fellowship, you need to seek Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind and the greatest servant-leader of all.
It is time for us, as children of God, to take our place of leadership by rising to serve our family, community, church, country and humanity in general. We are especially endowed to do it, so let us do it. You will not fail, in Jesus’ name.

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