What makes a leader worthy to follow? Relevance? Intelligence? Vision?
All of that misses the point.
Why don’t we follow “people with an ardent desire
to dwell in God's presence,
to listen to God's voice,
to look at God's beauty,
to touch God's incarnate Word
and to taste fully God's infinite goodness?”
quotation from Henri Nouwen, In the Name of Jesus (1989)
Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and his disciples, “The legal experts and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat. Therefore, you must take care to do everything they say. But don’t do what they do. For they tie together heavy packs that are impossible to carry. They put them on the shoulders of others, but are unwilling to lift a finger to move them.”
“Do what I say and not what I do.” Sometimes, our parents want us to do things that they know are the right things, even though they themselves struggle with those same things. Like: Mom might say “clean up” — but her bathroom is also a mess! But that doesn’t mean that what they are asking us to do is wrong.
In Jesus's day, the religious leaders taught the law of Moses. Jesus said, “do what they say.” But Jesus also said, “Don’t lay heavy burdens on people — like those leaders do — and then be unwilling to help.”
But isn’t it easier to follow someone who leads by example? Like: I learn to treat others kindly by watching Mom’s compassion.
If I expect someone to treat me in a certain way, I need to be prepared to treat others with the same care and grace I expect. I can lead by example. I can learn from and follow those who lead by their good example.
Lord, send me leaders who are examples of your love and grace. Lead me to follow them as we travel your paths together. Amen.
May I see the opportunities to lead and have the humility to follow the leaders who are following the Lord's path.