I’ve always thought the true character of a leader will be seen in times of crisis.
This has been proven true throughout all of history and was certainly true of the person of Jesus Christ.
I was reminded yesterday, reading Matthew 21, and specifically the text on the “triumphal entry,” that Jesus was surrounded by people who constantly had expectations of him. Most of his followers had some sort of agenda. They were following Him because they thought they were going to get something from him.
32They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. 33“We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, 34who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”
35Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
36“What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
37They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
What? Jesus had just finished laying out his sacrificial mission only to have the disciples come back with, “Hey, could you do us a favor?” Can you imagine how disheartening this was to him as their leader? Had they even heard what he had said?
You probably have some idea, don’t you?
Maybe you’re a pastor and you just laid out the vision you felt God has placed on your heart … only to have your church shoot it down because it’s going to inconvenience them.
As a parent, you’ve probably sat down with your kids to pour out your heart about some of the changes that need to be made in your house … only to have your kids come back with some smart aleck response.
Maybe you took the lead in a friendship and confronted the other person about some questionable activity in their life … only to be chastised and rejected by them.
Here’s the bottom line. Whether you are a leader in your home, in your church or in your office, you need to know everyone has certain expectations of you. When your actions (right or wrong) don’t match up with their expectations of you, there will be trouble.
They’ll drop their palm leaves and pick up rocks. The applause will stop and the accusations will start. The flattery will end and the gossip will begin.
The question is: Will you be able to stay focused on the mission to which God has called you? Will you stay the course as Jesus did, or will you give into the temptation to simply please those around you? Will you turn bitter toward those people, or forgive them until the end?