The last few years and even weeks have amply demonstrated the Church’s folly of investing our hopes in ambitious and talented leaders. Like Humpty Dumpty these men were all set up high. Their moral failures were overlooked or not looked upon at all. Like Humpty their fall has been great and the damage severe. It is easy to point and blame hypocritical leaders and these men are not without blame, but the fault lies not only in these stars but in the Church that exalted them. I am convinced we get the leaders we are looking for. As long as the Church looks to ambition and charm rather than meekness and humility we are doomed to a repetition of these ‘great falls.
Jesus certainly disappointed his followers who sought a leader who would provide facile answers to the current Roman oppression. He was welcomed into Jerusalem and hailed as King. Probably folks in that throng pictured a powerful assertive leader. They were to be disappointed as “like a lamb before its shearers He was silent.” In humble submission He agreed to the cross. In meekness He bore sins not his own! Should we not seek to have and to be leaders after this example?
While some seek the latest ‘Flash in the Pan” others humbly toil, recognized by few in contented service to God and his Church. These are the heroes! These are the Christ-like leaders! These folks are rarely exalted or celebrated but we remember “The meek shall inherit the Earth.” And “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus who humbled himself… wherefore God has highly exalted Him.” In the economy of God, the way to exaltation runs through humility and meek obedience.
The acknowledgement of this world is fleeting. Think of Alexander the Great. When I was a boy I was impressed that Alexander filled nearly two pages in the Encyclopedia. Years later I notice his glory filled less. More and more had happened in the world and his legacy had shrunk. It continues to shrink and pale over time. If “The Conqueror of the Known World” has such a fading legacy, how long will my paltry achievements last? If I live to satisfy my ambitions I am doomed to irrelevance!
Jesus tells us that where our treasure is that our heart will be there also. Temporal treasure leads to temporary rewards but what is done in humble service to the Kingdom of God and in meek submission to the lordship of Jesus our King, will bring lasting rewards and satisfaction.
Perhaps all these ‘fallen men’ point us to a better way. I think I ought to aspire to humility and meekness. I pray the Church might commit to these virtues afresh.