Two things in the news about leadership this week have caught our attention. The first is the death of Baroness Margaret Thatcher, former Conservative prime minister and watershed political figure. Her passing has cause a virtual storm of comments on her legacy and impact on the nation. Possibly one of the most divisive Premiers in modern times, Mrs Thatcher has earned a mix of admiration, grudging respect and fierce hatred for her time in office. Despite mixed opinions no one can doubt that she showed strong leadership in her generation.
The second is the continued warmongering actions of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The rest of the world is guessing at the motives behind renewed militaristic threats against South Korea and the US and also at the character of Kim Yong-un. Is the new untested Premier flexing his muscles to consolidate his leadership or is he a pawn figure fronting a desperate and brittle regime losing its grip on the nation?
Lots of things stand or fall on leadership. The success of a project, the growth of a team, the win of a game, the future of an economy, the fate of a generation; much hangs on good leaders rising to the occasion and taking people through situations that could make or break them.
As Christian leadership guru John Maxwell says: ‘Credibility is a leader’s currency. With it, he or she is solvent; without it, he or she is bankrupt.‘ Credible leaders are long sought after, but not always liked when in place. Credible leadership is about character and authentic lifestyle, and choices made for the good of the many.
When we think about Jesus we tend to exalt him as a spiritual figurehead, inspirational character, great teacher and many other aspects of his life. I wonder how often we look at him as our leader. Bible passages speak of Jesus in heaven as being seated at God’s right hand – a place of privilege and leadership. He is not just resting after his atonement, but actively interceding for us and over human history. The book of Revelation in particular, highlights Jesus’ end time leadership. He is the one who takes the scroll and breaks the seals, setting in motion the events of the last days before his return. He will lead the second coming procession out of heaven and will rule perfectly over our world.
It is Jesus’ leadership, not just of his church and faithful followers, but of the closing years of human history that is an important theme for reflection for forerunners.
Forerunners learn to submit to Jesus’ leadership, first of their lives, and then of overarching events of the world. God’s kingdom is a never ending kingdom and Jesus has proved his utter credibility in his life, death and resurrection. It takes diligent prayer and discernment to understand what God is doing in these days. In times of personal suffering, national shaking and also in times of blessing and revival when God moves in ways we have not yet seen, will we be offended at Him or learn to joyfully follow His leadership?
I want to be able to say with all my heart that I look to Jesus and trust his leadership whatever happens.