Leadership Thoughts and a Letter to President Zuma

When Israel asked for a king it appears that God was disappointed. Certainly his prophet of the day, Samuel, expressed great distress at their request. It seems that God feels competent to run nations without an obvious human monarch. Nonetheless, God gave them a king and many afterward. When a king attuned his heart to God's the nation prospered and when the king went head strongly after his own agenda the nation suffered. Israel's first king, Saul, was head and shoulders above his peers in appearance but when called on to lead the nation he was found inadequate. The prestige and power that goes with leadership can be an intoxicating experience. It turns the most unlikely people into despots. This good-looking yet timid man was soon defying God and chasing away rivals by throwing spears at them. Despite the willingness with which he embraced the authority that went with his position, it appears that he was reluctant to embrace the responsibility with the same enthusiasm. Saul spent more time enjoying the position than caring for the nation.

Israel's first king, Saul, was head and shoulders above his peers in appearance but when called on to lead the nation he was found inadequate. The prestige and power that goes with leadership can be an intoxicating experience. It turns the most unlikely people into despots. This good-looking yet timid man was soon defying God and chasing away rivals by throwing spears at them. Despite the willingness with which he embraced the authority that went with his position, it appears that he was reluctant to embrace the responsibility with the same enthusiasm. Saul spent more time enjoying the position than caring for the nation.

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Leading with Hope

 

1 Cor 13 (NLT): “Three things will last forever – faith, hope and love – and the greatest of these is love”.  When we think of Leadership, especially in the workplace, faith (more often called “vision” or “purpose”) easily comes to mind.  We also expect a leader to develop and nurture staff i.e. “love”.  I believe the third attribute mentioned in Corinthians, HOPE, is at least as important a component of Leadership.  I want to illustrate this point with the inspirational, and very topical, stories of two South African heroes.

Marshall Rapiya was going to be a lawyer, but found himself selling insurance for Old Mutual in uMthatha in the late 1970’s.  Nowadays all financial services companies want to be seen to be serving the so-called “mass market”, but in those days, it was highly uncommon.  Scepticism and racism both inside the company and outside threatened the brave efforts to extend financial inclusion to black people.  It just hadn’t been done before!

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