During the week I was listening to ABC Radio where a commentator was speaking about the political scene in the USA. He said that over the past thirty years there had been a leaning towards giving our leaders celebrity status. He went on to comment that ultimately this has led to getting the kind of leader we have now.
Today in our Gospel Jesus shows that he was a very different kind of leader. “My kingdom is not of this world.” If we go back several weeks to where Jesus fed the 5000 he moved away from those who wanted to make him their King. He knew they were looking for a celebrity who would exercise great political power. Jesus shunned celebrity status altogether. He did not seek it for himself. He did not spend his time with celebrities either. In contrast he spent most of his time with the poor, sinners and tax collectors. Rather than seeking to revolutionise the political landscape of his world he was seeking to revolutionise people’s hearts.
This raises questions for us? What kind of leadership are we looking for? What are our core values? If we have exercised leadership have we exercise it in the way Jesus would want? To accept Jesus as King in the way he presents himself has huge implications.
A number of years ago a movie came out called “For Greater Glory.” It was set in Mexico in the 1920’s. A young father, a young priest and a 14 year old boy when they were told to bow before the government, all said: ‘I am a loyal son of Mexico, but I belong first to Jesus.’ These three represented hundreds who gave their lives for Christ in the late 1920’s.
Now, we are not facing that kind of persecution. We are, however, facing growing pressure to restrict our faith – to compartmentalize our lives, to put our faith in a bow where religion simply becomes another compartment of all that we do. The challenge is if we want to accept the kind of leadership Jesus offers us then we have to allow him to direct our lives not only when we pray, but also when we work, when we talk with others, whatever we do. When we do this we promote the kind of kingdom that Jesus was talking about. We also promote the kind of leadership our world needs right now.