Whose understanding of leadership? Whose version of success? These are valid questions. Our society is glutted with theories and strategies of leadership and success. From books and magazine articles to seminars and workshops – some of which one has to pay high dollar to attend – Americans cannot get enough on leadership and strategies for success. And all types of people and professions are willing to put forth their particular theory. Everyone, it seems, is getting in on the act – CEOs as well as all levels of business leaders, politicians, coaches and athletes, generals and admirals, professors, televangelists and preachers … just to name a few.
But are all versions of leadership and success created equal? My own suspicion is that “no, they are not.” Another more focused question worthy of reflection is, “Are all versions of leadership and strategies of success equally valid?” Again, my answer would be, “no, they are not” but, even more to the point; behind this second question is the belief that there is an objective standard by which all understandings, theories and strategies can be evaluated and judged to be either more or less true.
This objective standard is the “key” to this whole series of reflections and because of this standard it is fair and even necessary as a duty (I would argue) to hold all the theories and strategies of leadership and success which we encounter up to the light of this standard in order to see where they measure out at. The key also gives us a vehicle by which to navigate the glut of theories which we encounter on an almost daily basis in our society – no small thing, and in of itself worthy of value.
Many versions and strategies of leadership and success enable a person to attain great material comfort and prosperity but in the process leave the soul dead and dry as a tomb. Is this true success? Is this what it means to be a leader? Is this what we are putting forth as the model for our young people?
(Jesus) said to them, “You will see that every teacher of the Law who becomes a disciple of the Kingdom is like a householder who can produce from his store things both new and old.” (Mt. 13:52)
The reflections on the dynamics of Christian leadership which will be forthcoming in this continuing series are offered in the humility of Kingdom discipleship. The Kingdom of God is upon us, Jesus has revealed it. In the light of the Kingdom we judge and evaluate all which we encounter and we further know that we ourselves and our life actions will also be judged and evaluated by the light of the Kingdom.
As our Lord instructs, we have been given a great treasure – knowledge of the Kingdom of God, its inbreaking into our world and also an awareness of our very inheritance within this Kingdom. This treasure is what allows us to produce “things both new and old.”
The reflections which will be following are also offered in the hope of further reflection and even deeper insight achieved on the reader’s part. The thoughts contained in these reflections are not meant to be considered exhaustive or the final word in any sense. The thoughts are those of one disciple offered in friendship. I hope that they prove to be helpful.