The ABC’s ‘Q and A’ show has created some interest in recent weeks. Last Monday some religious questions were presented and the open discussion followed. The common contemporary conclusion was presented. I am spiritual but not religious. That’s fair enough, however a provisor was added. You can be spiritual and do what you like. In our society we like doing what you like.
Spontaneous, random, behaviour is appealing. I believe we can detect a modicum of concern in Jesus observation. Is life just meant to meander on the next whim. The gospel presents to us that as soon as they detected a quality leader such as Jesus they were drawn to him like led to a magnet. A moth to the light.
Sheep do need a shepherd. Quality leadership is not easy to find. There are many styles of leadership. They often change according to the group and their objective. Military leadership differs from a leadership of a team of health workers in a third world country responding to a health pandemic.
I read an Article in the Newspaper by Paul Roos the Melbourne football coach. It spoke of a need to respect the contract that employed a coach as leader. He challenged the idea that too often coaches were sacked irrespective of the contract on the strength of their win loss result. That was performance-based leadership.
Of great concern to many of us is the political leader. We are disillusioned by leaders who have no vision, wisdom or moral capacity. Political leadership is too often shaped by focus groups and media polls. It lacks substance that inspires us. Of course there are many other styles but these two give us a taste.
What interests me today is what attracted the people of Jesus’ day to leave everything behind and follow him. Yes he spoke with wisdom and insight. He showed compassion for the weakest and generated a depth of life that healed the sick, giving hope to all. As appealing as he was as a human, his leadership style was unique. It was not about himself.
When engaging people it was not so much about himself, even though he was interested in what they saw in him. But once that was established, it was about encouraging others to discover the same qualities within themselves. He wanted everyone to embrace their own capacity for leadership within themselves. Not necessarily for leading others but so that we can be leaders of our own life. Without doing this we can’t manage our own life adequately.
The leadership of Jesus arises out of the quality of life people display.
In recent times I had the chance to converse with the Chancellor of one of our Melbourne Universities. Lets say his name was John. He had been a public servant at one stage and met with the minister of the department he worked for. They discussed some policies and was disturbed by the approach of the minister and questioned him on it. The minister responded. John you are naïve. It’s all about getting into power because if you’re not in power you can’t do anything. So you’ve got to get into power and then you do what you want. Once you are in then it becomes a case of staying in. Let me say this is not leadership. This is self-serving power.
JESUS AND LEADERSHIP
When Jesus saw the people living like sheep without a shepherd, he did not think of power. He imagined leadership. Leadership must be accompanied by the qualities that inspire others, to display their own style of leadership. The Q and A panelist who claimed he was not religious but spiritual and claimed then you do what you want, was not a leader. The inspiring leader needs to manage his own life well to the degree of inspiring others. That’s why people sought Jesus as sheep do to a shepherd.
Today we are delighted to welcome Helen for her baptism. In a sense she is welcoming Jesus as her spiritual leader that she finds the pathway to the fullness of life that our Lord offers.