It's Lonely at the Top

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

  Jesus walked into his first sermon a popular guy.  The scripture says everyone at that point liked  him (Luke 4:15).  He gave them a word from Isaiah that challenged the way of the status quo "...bringing good news to the poor...release to the captives...and asking that the oppressed go free" (Luke 4:18,19).  Jesus went from number one in all the polls to being driven out to a cliff where they nearly hurled him off (Luke 4:29).

Many of us have spent our career trying to find a way to do leadership without the dynamic of loneliness.  Those who say what everyone wants to hear will never lack for company.  Like over-eager lap dogs, people will always crowd around someone who can be counted on to pat them on the head and tell them that whatever they are doing is all right.

But with leadership comes loneliness.  Practicing courage, compassion, and conscience will insure lots of lonely walks alone, vigils and stand alone days.  You can know you’re a genuine follower of Jesus when you too experience the loneliness of leadership.

One of the most poignant images of the loneliness of leadership is from the movie "Master and Commander - The Far Side of the World."  In this Peter Weir adaptation of one of Patrick O’Brian's twenty best-selling Captain Jack Aubrey novels, a mast collapses during a storm and a seaman is thrown overboard.  Captain Aubrey, played by Russell Crowe, has to make a split-second decision. Either he must try to save the castaway who is clinging to the mast that is dragging the entire ship under water, or he must chop the rope that is causing the entire ship to sink, with every hack nailing the coffin of his comrade valiantly treading water.  The face of Aubrey / Crowe as he hacks away at the rope, saves the ship and all aboard but deserts his friend, speaks volumes about the loneliness of leadership.

If you are a leader you are alone.  One purpose of the church is to remind leaders that Jesus has been alone and our Lord comes to us when we are alone, with a peace that surpasses all human understanding.

Still in one peace,

David J. Jensen

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