|No cross no crown: The cost of leadership|
Arinthia S. Komolafe
Published: Apr 05, 2012
The Bahamas is a nation founded and built upon Christian principles. It is therefore expected that this week and in particular during the weekend, a vast majority of Bahamians will commemorate and reflect upon the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The reality is that the Easter story is one that we can all relate to in our personal and professional lives. The suspension of all rallies and political activities by all political parties in observance of Holy week is welcome news as it suggests a certain level of reverence for religion and spirituality by our political leaders . However, one can’t help but wonder whether the candidates for this year’s general elections, leaders and aspiring leaders in general appreciate the true cost of leadership with all of its triumphs and trials.
The life of Jesus tells the story of a man who was so sure of his calling from a very early age that even the temptation of being afforded the world before the debut of his ministry could not deter him from His ultimate purpose to save the world. He performed miracles and preached a gospel of repentance during his three and a half year ministry. However, Jesus received mixed reviews during this period and was not always accepted by all, but what is clear is that he bore the mark of a great leader and left behind a legacy for many generations to come.
The triumphant entry
The triumphant entry witnessed Jesus riding into the town of Jerusalem on a colt being greeted to shouts of joy and gladness from the multitudes that were present singing Hosanna unto Him. Leaders and aspiring leaders can learn a thing or two from this event which was well attended by genuine followers, disciples and sycophants. The irony of the Triumphant Entry is that the same crowd that praised Him within a matter of days ridiculed Him and called for his death. However, Jesus was not deterred by this because He was always sure of His calling and denied himself in spite of opposition. Leaders must be mindful of the vast audience that so easily massage their egos and appear to loathe them for such crowds are fluid and allegiances or positions are unpredictable.
Rejected by the system
The system indicted and convicted Jesus for his non-conformity with the status quo and His desire to bring freedom to the human race. The nature of the system is one that is comfortable with business as usual and taking a stand contrary to popular belief(s) is often frowned upon. A leader should be prepared to stand for his beliefs regardless of its contradiction to the general held notion and obvious opposition within the system. True leaders must be willing to be blacklisted for their beliefs to achieve their dreams.
Betrayals and denials
The betrayal by Judas and denial by Peter as clearly documented in the Bible will probably be recited multiple times during the course of this week. It is my hope that leaders, aspiring leaders and Bahamians in general accept the fact that they will have their fair share of Judases and Peters as they journey through life seeking to fulfil their God-given assignments. In the end as is commonly stated, we must be true to ourselves and be willing to walk alone. The betrayal and denial as noted in the preamble to the Easter story speaks to the role of greed, the love of money, loyalty and fear in discipleship and the following of any leader.
As Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, He asked His Father to “let this cup pass over me”, speaking in relation to having to go to the cross to be crucified and all of the humiliation that came along with that. The thought of the burden of a mission and sacrifices attached to achievement of a vision can be so overwhelming on a leader that he/she tries to abort the dream. However, great leaders persevere; they push through the challenges with the ultimate goal in sight and declare like Jesus did – “Not my Will but Your Will Be Done”.
The road to the Crucifixion is a painful, agonizing and lonely one. Jesus bore and carried His cross alone as He journeyed to Calvary to the jeers and insults of the crowd. One cannot help but reflect on the radical shift in the scenery of the Triumphant Entry compared to that of the Crucifixion. It is no news that the people that once applauded your great works are very seldom around to rescue you from going to the cross. In fact, it is not unusual for these persons to be on the other end of the spectrum demeaning your achievements and person. The actual death of Jesus which marks the climax of the tragedy may come in different forms to leaders ranging to character assassinations, persecutions and losses. However, this is inevitable at some points in the life of every leader or aspiring leader.
We celebrate Easter because Jesus rose from the dead. Indeed the darkest of nights must always give way to the rising of the sun. In spite of it all, one thing that we can always be assured of is the fact that if you are willing, there is a resurrection after the crucifixion. Your mindset is transformed in the resurrection and you will become a stronger and better person as a result. Jesus’ ability to be true to His ministry and His calling gave birth to the Christian church as we know it today. Consequently, there are millions around the world that follow his teachings and practice. Hence, Jesus left behind a legacy that has spanned over centuries. Indeed, this was the crowning moment for the cross that He had to bear.
Triumphs and trials are a bittersweet mix in leadership. But one must always be mindful that the goals they are seeking to achieve and the eventual legacy that they will leave behind, ultimately supersedes any temporal challenge that one may face. After all no student is greater than his master/teacher and Jesus taught us all how to become great leaders.
Arinthia S. Komolafe is an attorney-at-law. Comments can be directed at firstname.lastname@example.org.