Sat on a train travelling to a conference an pondering on a few things from the life of Elijah.
I have regularly spoken on 1 Kings 18 and 19 but only today have I noticed that Elijah used the same expression in both strength and weakness. In 18:22 and 19:10, he refers to being the only prophet left – one leads to a major spiritual battle were Elijah stands for God in the tumult, a place of strength, yet in the 2nd instance the belief that he is alone leads him into a cycle of depression.
Elijah was not alone but it does raise some interesting thoughts for me. One day our understanding may lead to great victory whilst the next it may be our downfall. Something to ponder.
The great news is that Elijah was not alone…7000 others. Wow.
Even better to know that ‘we are not alone’…God has preserved others who have not given in to false gods…not alone. All this happened in Gods knowledge and presence – God is at work, whatever the day brings! Hallelujah
Two conversations in the last week and watching the One Show interview of Michael Portillo regarding the recent film about Margaret Thatcher, have all referred to loneliness in leadership. In all 3 conversations people claimed that being in the place of authority meant that you were alone in making decisions and therefore carried the weight of responsibility alone. Poppycock!!
If you are a leader with responsibility, there is no need to carry the burden of that responsibility alone. If you do, you are not including others, misunderstanding the role of teamwork and, if I may be so bold, leading through selfishness and arrogance. The final call may be yours but that does not have to equate to loneliness unless you have isolated yourself from others. This style of leadership belongs to a bygone era from the industrial age and thankfully disappearing – it may take time to filter through some organisations but it must do so.
Lonely at the Top should be reserved for the history books!
Much of our thinking tends to centre on the leader and their style of leadership or even the things they need to do in order to combat loneliness. However, what if we were to think at the issue from a different angle? – the way we treat those in leadership. What if we honoured them, rather than knock them? What if we gave them space, rather than demand time? What if we trusted their decisions, even if they looked crazy? What if we loved them, instead of loathing them?
Plenty of ‘what if’ questions – there still needs to be a sense of accountability or we would end up with many more dictators. But I do wonder why followers put all the expectation on the leader, why the leader accepts all that baggage and if there is a different path that we could tread? Can it be different? I think it can!