Leadership is influence, in its most basic sense. We all influence people and therefore all exercise leadership in some way. It is a matter of degree. This fact does little to deter some from feeling intimidated by the unwelcome prospect of becoming a leader or exercising leadership in any formal sense. Complicating the whole problem is the excessive busyness that people already feel and then the increased expectations that a litigious and pressured society seems to require of people. So, what could or should our response be?
One important factor is to consider what our life stands for. It has been famously said that: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” The needs of the world in which we live demand that people rise to the right challenges knowing full well that there will be a cost to us whether we do or we don’t. I would much rather the cost be personal sacrifice of comfort, pleasure, finance or time, than to be the pain of knowing that I had not, in some way, curbed the advance of evil on my watch.
Some people have said that such advances are not their problem and that there is little we can do to make any real difference, anyway. Others are blissfully unaware of what offends and dishonours the very God who made them and to whom they pay mere lip service. When our life is aligned to His heart, we can make a difference to individuals. Collectively, we can make a multiplied difference on a big scale.
So, what kind of life is really being lived if it doesn’t have purpose and application? What kind of life is a life that merely prioritises personal gain? Unless we resist our busyness and pressures to take a stand for something, we fall for anything. But which something is the right thing?
Life can tend to be full of relativised values and priorities that seem valid and important, but these need an objective standard against which to be measured. Otherwise life descends into a chaos of expectations that revolve around our own beliefs and desires, causing anguish and conflict. That’s precisely why the Bible constantly requests the perspective that we are temporary residents who need to abstain from ‘fleshly’ desires that war against us (1 Peter 2:11).
When the big picture is healthy, all our priorities and desires align so that we will find our sweet spot, love life and find our unique call or mission. Leading is then much easier. But our mission will always be a specific subset of the global command which defines life itself and which urges our obedience: “Go into all the world and make disciples of every nation” (Matthew 28:20).