True leadership replicates itself
The Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight and served the images of Baal. They abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They went after other gods, worshiping the gods of the people around them. And they angered the Lord”, (Judges 2:11-12).
OF all the definitions of leadership, “influence” stand out as very essential. A leader influences those under him particularly in achievement of results or goals. Leadership whether in the Church or in society is expected to produce results for the common good.
However, it was not to be so with Joshua, the touted servant of Moses and the son of Nun. Joshua with Caleb brought a minority report and Moses made use of it. It was this Joshua that the Bible recognized as Moses’ aid and he took over from him at death. The Bible records for him, “No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you ”, (Joshua 1:5). Incidentally at his death after one hundred and ten years, the generation or circle of leaders after him could not follow in his footsteps. So, there was anarchy in the land and people did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. This gap in leadership unfortunately occasioned the great evil witnessed after Joshua’s era.
Nevertheless, people clamour for leadership position both in the Church and in society. Yet, sometimes you begin to wonder what is the essence of leadership without corresponding influence. The Bible is replete with examples of some who influenced and replicated leadership. Notice, Elisha and Elijah “But King Jehoshaphat of Judah asked, “Is there no prophet of the Lord with us? If there is, we can ask the Lord what to do through him.” One of King Joram’s officers replied, “Elisha son of Shaphat is here. He used to be Elijah’s personal assistant”, (2 kings 3:11). Elisha did not only receive the mantle but had double portion of the spirit. Also, Jesus and His 12 disciples, He nurtured and historically they were later to turn the world upside down to the glory of God. What of the influence of Paul over these persons: Timothy, Silas and the Ephesian Elders?
Therefore, it does suggest that conscious and deliberate efforts should be made by leaders whether in the Church or society in order to replicate themselves. Selfishness should be eschewed on the part of the leaders. A true leader replicates, nothing more, nothing less. Far away in Zimbabwe, Mugabe lost the glories of the independence he fought for, as he was not only asked to resign but he was not able to produce a successor. He was carried away by family succession even when the mood of the moment did not support such. I think his failure is a lesson not only to the political class but also to the Church. A true leader should endeavour to replicate consciously and deliberately so that there will not be a yawning gap when he eventually bows out of the stage. Joshua made the same mistake and there was anarchy in the land after him.
Instructively, it is my considered view that true leadership whether in the Church or society should think again on how best to strength leadership by making enough time to prepare those who would eventually take over. No time is better than now to do so.
Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,
Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.