Distant Leaders

It's not true only of Christians, but we do love our leaders...from a distance.

All of us, I think, tend to idealize leaders and pastors, as long as we can read their books or blogs, enjoy their churches or ideas, and never be personally affected by their decisions. It's easy to esteem a leader or pastor I know from TV or in a book, someone I can admire and even follow from a safe distance.

But to lead is to make decisions, and to make decisions is to disappoint someone. I can learn much from fellow authors and bloggers and pastors and leaders...but I'm not sure I have fully experienced a person's leadership until I've been disappointed by that person's decisions.

This was true even of Jesus. People followed him, admired him, were THRILLED with this food-giving, disease-healing rabbi....but there came a time when his words and direction simply alienated "many of his disciples" (John 6:66).

The test of a leader is NOT whether no one is disappointed with or even alienated from him or her. That will always be the case, as it was with Jesus, if the person is really leading. While there is still much to be learned from leaders we admire from a distance, we should keep in mind that our picture of their leadership is probably incomplete, at best.

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