Down with pedestals!
Jesus seems to have a hearty distrust of the pedestal, implying that the degree to which we idolize leadership, we go wrong. He warns us in no uncertain terms: Don’t put anyone up there, and don’t, for that matter, allow yourself to be maneuvered up onto one either.
The pedestal dehumanizes – or rather supra-humanizes – as well as isolates. Whereas, being very, very much human, every leader needs community, i.e. connection, friendship, accountability, and relevance if their leadership is to have any chance of truly flourishing.
A couple of the red flags signaling the pedestaling process? First, we start taking a leader too seriously; second a leader starts taking themselves too seriously. Sometimes the process is reversed.
Then, before you know it, there they are – the latest poor soul atop a pillar of high repute.
And, by the way, a bright, fluorescent target for anything humanity can throw at them; a magnet for both adoration and hatred; an elevated sitting duck for the highest of praise and the sharpest of criticism. One minute their ego is inflating to absurd proportions, the next, they are being pummeled almost into oblivion…
Of course, Jesus has the perfect antidote, if you are one of these unfortunates:
Find your bearings again, recognize the true Boss.
Climb down off the pedestal, and join the rest of the human race on wonderfully solid, equal ground.
Serve others, don’t expect them to serve you.
And no more masks, enjoy simply being yourself.
You may still be the target of abuse, but you no longer have far to fall.
Plus the company and comfort of fellow-travellers will ease your journey.
Photo: Tree frog contemplating a leap in the dark
Thoughts taken from The Message; Matthew 23: 8-12:
“’Don’t let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of ‘Father’; you have only one Father, and he’s in heaven. And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.
Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.’”
One thought on “You want to stand out? Then step down.”
I enjoyed your powerful meditation on the nature of leadership. There is great power and joy in humbling oneself to the service of others.
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