By Bishop Jonathan Holston
Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don t see many of the brightest and the best among you, not many from high-society families. Isn t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks? (1 Corinthians 1:26-27, The Message)
Dr. Fred Craddock, a former homiletics professor at the Candler School of Theology, shares a remarkable story about seeing a violin on the steps of Cannon Chapel at Emory University.
It was left in the rain and filled with candy wrappers, fast food packages and cigarette butts. Someone asked him, To whom does the violin belong? He replied, I don t know, but I do know it does not belong to a violinist.
That story captures a slice of life. The things we value and love are given places of honor in our lives. Those things that do not capture our attention often find themselves on the back shelf, a dusty corner of a table or on the rainy steps of a building.
The same can be said about leadership. While searching through another box at home, I found an article that spoke to the awesome responsibility of faithful leaders. The article stated in a form of a letter is a parody on the wonders of leadership:
Monday, Sept. 14
To: Jesus, Son of Joseph
Nazareth Carpenters Shop
From: Apostolic Management
RE: Staff Evaluation
Thank you for submitting resumes of the twelve (12) men you have picked for management positions in your new organization. All of them have taken our battery of tests. We have not only processed the results through our computer, but have arranged personal interviews for each with our staff psychologist and vocational aptitude consultant.
It is the staff s opinion that most of your nominees are lacking the background, education, vocational aptitude and social skills for the type of enterprise you have proposed to undertake. They do not have a team concept. We would recommend that you continue your search for persons of experience in managerial ability and proven capacity.
Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper. Andrew has absolutely no qualities of leadership. James and John, the two brothers, place personal interest above corporate loyalty. Thomas demonstrates a questioning, skeptical attitude that would tend to undermine morale. We feel it is our duty to tell you that Matthew has been suspended by the Greater Jerusalem Better Business Bureau due to his former business association with the Romans. James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus definitely have radical leanings and they both registered high scores on the manic-depressive scale.
One of the candidates, however, shows great potential. He is a man of ability and resourcefulness, meets people well, has a keen business mind and had contacts in high places with influential persons. He is highly motivated, ambitious, and responsible. We recommend Judas Iscariot without reservation as your comptroller and senior advisor. All of the other profiles are self-explanatory.
We wish you every success in your new venture.
Friends, the wonder of leadership is that Jesus, the Christ, was able to see past the obvious shortcomings of his followers. The best news of all is that Christ sees past our weaknesses to allow the power of God to work in our lives as well.
As we continue our spiritual journey in this Lenten season, let us all lay aside our tendency to compare or categorize individuals as we interpret their giftedness based upon our impressions or experience. Often, this neglects the power of the Holy Spirit working in someone s life.
After all is said and done, the wonder of leadership is that God often chooses men and women the world overlooks.