Just a short post this week. As I was on a 17 hour non-stop flight from San Francisco to Singapore earlier this week, I didn’t feel like watching a movie, and I wasn’t sleepy, so I decided to read the gospel of John. I have a lot of underlines and highlights – but here is one that stood out.
In John 12:42ff, John tells of many authorities that believed in Jesus, but out of fear that the Pharisees might take away their authority and their positions, they would not confess their belief in Jesus. They became duplicitous. They compromised their integrity. Why? “For they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”
What is going on here? As leaders climb the ladder of success and with the success attain power and prestige and all the perks that go with it…the temptation to compromise their character increases exponentially. The temptation is to hide your weaknesses because there are subordinates who covet your position and will use your weaknesses against you. There is the temptation to use your power to hold on to your position – even if it hurts others. We become more focused on what is best for us rather than what is best for those we are leading. When this happens, we might retain our position, but we have lost our influence. People trust leaders with integrity. It is easy for leaders to forget that their leadership is for the benefit of those they are leading.
To preserve our integrity and character, we may need to take the risk of losing or giving up our position, our role, our titles – and all the perks that go with it. We may never get back what we have given up. But we have gained something much more important, the character and influence that God designed for us to have, and the freedom to become who He intends for us to become. Our greatest impact on others will never come from our position of from what we do, it comes from who we are…and from why we are that person.