Servant Leadership

The events in the USSR of the past two weeks have received prominence in our news reports.  The emphasis has been on the great work of Boris Yeltsin in defeating the coup.  He has been played as the hero of it all - which he has used to grasp power and utilise it in his own interests.  His method has been to humiliate President Gorbachev and manipulate his parliament and people to his own ends.

How this reminds us of the words of Jesus: "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them... they exercise authority' (Mk 10:42).  It is the pattern which is repeated before us regularly.  Consider the antics of Paul Keating, of Jeff Kennett, and others.  They want a share of the power. But, says Jesus, "Not so with you" (10:43).  Christian leadership is not exercised by holding "prestigious" positions, it is not a matter of weilding power for the sake of one's own reputation, it is a matter of service, of doing the things that no-one else wants to do.  In Jesus' case, his leadership meant going to the cross (10:45), a path which his disciples clearly did not want to pursue.

The true heroes of the events in the USSR are those who stood out against the tanks, who tackled the threat with their own hands, people whose names we will never get to hear . They have given us a picture of christian leadership.  The press does not want to declare it, many do not want to hear it. It was message of Jesus and remains the challenge to us.  A true leader is a servant.  Let us seek that attitude in our midst.

September 1, 1991
To the Leadership Index
To the next article

feedback to the author