Leadership isn’t for cowards. If you are someone who craves people’s affirmation, doesn’t like conflict and can’t bear to put yourself in a position where you could be attacked, leadership isn’t for you.
Because Jesus-followers who recognize that they are people of influence are also people of the Word. They enjoy digging into their Bibles to develop a mind that sees “right” and “wrong” as God sees it. They come to have a clearer view of what God approves of and what ticks Him off.
As long as we keep that standard to ourselves and try to live accordingly, ridicule may only occur periodically. But, try to influence others and call them to live according to that standard and watch out! Lightning will strike and you will be the lightning rod.
John the Baptist was such a man. He knew God’s Word. He understand the moral code that God expected each of us to comply with. He also knew that the governmental leader, Herod, had grossly strayed from that standard. So, John exerted his influence and spoke out against it.
Mark 6:17-18 (New Living Translation)
“For Herod had sent soldiers to arrest and imprison John as a favor to Herodias. She had been his brother Philip’s wife, but Herod had married her. John had been telling Herod, ‘It is against God’s law for you to marry your brother’s wife.'”
As expected, when a person of influence speaks up and calls people to conform to the truth, it typically isn’t well received. People don’t like acknowledging that they are wrong.
So, rather than make the necessary adjustments to conform to truth, the guilty parties attacked the spiritual leader.
“Then his daughter, also named Herodias, came in and performed a dance that greatly pleased Herod and his guests. ‘Ask me for anything you like,’ the king said to the girl, ‘and I will give it to you.’ He even vowed, ‘I will give you whatever you ask, up to half my kingdom!'”
“She went out and asked her mother, ‘What should I ask for?'”
“Her mother told her, ‘Ask for the head of John the Baptist!'”
“So the girl hurried back to the king and told him, ‘I want the head of John the Baptist, right now, on a tray!'”
“Then the king deeply regretted what he had said; but because of the vows he had made in front of his guests, he couldn’t refuse her. So he immediately sent an executioner to the prison to cut off John’s head and bring it to him. The soldier beheaded John in the prison, brought his head on a tray, and gave it to the girl, who took it to her mother.”
Leadership isn’t for cowards. Standing for what is right may be the very thing that puts you at odds with people who could make your life miserable.
But, while a person of influence doesn’t intentionally go looking for trouble, they will not keep silent to avoid trouble. They love others and they love truth enough to stand up and call people to conform to what is right and true and brings the greatest good.
For the Christian, they find satisfaction in knowing that one day the Lord will make things right. Injustice may take place here and godly leaders may get lambasted for standing for what is right.
But there is coming a day when we will stand before our Master (who was crucified for standing for truth). Regardless of what we’ve had to endure in this life, it will all seem a distant memory when we hear our incredible Lord say “Well done! Well done!” as He applauds our entrance into His Kingdom.
Stay strong! Get into God’s Word and live it! Love others enough to encourage them to comply with it! Be a godly person of influence today!