Who Do We Want to be Led By?

IMG_1432.jpgHere’s an intriguing thought: how much of what Jesus actually thought about things do we honestly know? I would contend not very much.

We have various oral and written records of things He is reported to have said, from which it is possible to construct portraits of character, socio-political outlook, even to construct a religion (although it is questionable how far any expression of Christianity has so far represented the reality of Jesus). We know that the human Jesus of Nazareth demonstrably existed. We know that He, humanly speaking, was a magnet for men and women, who would give everything to follow Him. What we know most of all about Jesus was that He was utterly devoted to the mission of glorifying His Father. He followed this mission with unswerving devotion, and lived it out to the ultimate extent, with complete integrity. It is this integrity which is one of the key elements of His enduring appeal (of course, there are others!)

When we are deciding who we want to follow, what they say or stand for is crucial. We like to think we are giving our devotion to a leader we can get behind. More than this though, I think, we want to see and know that these policies will be acted on, seen through and that they will prove beneficial not just for us, but for those we love, our friends and our neighbours.

Who are our neighbours? Everyone is our neighbour. So the decision on who we follow has to be, for us, the decision about who will speak, live and lead in a way which is full of integrity to the benefit of all those who are placed within their charge. We’ve become a nation who loves to debate policy and take sides on the basis of personality and the ways in which the policies and personalities espoused by our preferred candidates resonate best with us. In and of itself there’s nothing wrong with this, but where we really need to hold our leaders and those who seek to lead us to account most strongly is whether or not they deliver on their passionate rhetoric.

In my current role, as Assistant Curate in the Emmanuel Group of Churches, Northampton, I see all too regularly the consequences of policies and, often as a result, public opinion, manipulated and from a predominant desire to win votes and to hold on to, or gain power. Most of the people I work with and for long for leaders who will live, speak and lead with integrity, borne not just because they have leadership skills, or even a passion for their local area, but because they take utterly seriously the privilege and responsibility it is to be the leader of your people. Jesus’s selfless commitment and humility in achieving His aims made life, hope and a future available to all. As we come towards the next big year of political decision, let’s pray for leaders to put themselves forward who are willing to stand, and to operate, on a similar basis.

Post topics:
Do you like this post?

Showing 2 reactions


commented 2015-07-24 00:28:03 +0100 · Flag
My previous comment applies just as much now as I watch Jeremy Corbin being demonised just because he holds true Labour Party values.
commented 2014-11-16 13:18:14 +0000 · Flag
Some excellent comments here, a leader is a person of action and not a person of rhetoric. A leader is a person espousing and enacting radical policies that create a loving, fairer and more caring society…..especially for the weak, poor and vulnerable. A party whose leader avoids talking about the radical changes needed and has policies that include continuing neo liberal austerity for the poorest is probably a party and a leader that needs to do some more thinking.





Related posts on Faith

In church recently I met someone who runs a food bank. He talked to me about how his service helped people from many different backgrounds who have become stuck in a poverty trap. Some need short term support to get them through a difficult period, while others are permanently stuck. I was struck by the commitment of this gentleman to help others and of his conviction that our society should not be organised this way.

It is a familiar story to any churchgoer. Churches across the country contain many similarly motivated people. They are driven by their Christian conviction that all are created equally and that everyone therefore has equal worth. Working in food banks, helping the homeless, giving shelter to refugees, fighting famine and poverty abroad, and in many other ways, church members are working for the most disadvantaged in society. Moreover, with at least one church in every town and village, this work is happening and being supported across the country.


frustrationPolitics and the world today can seem confusing. We can feel trapped by the ‘paralysis of analysis’ – not knowing what to pray for – so we simply stop praying. There are so many things on our radars that spark complex emotions, and a feeling of ‘Can I even pray for that, ask that question or feel that anger?’ can sometimes cloud our ability to know where to begin.


In the first of a two-part series, Christians on the Left member Andrew Chandler discusses the origins of Christian Socialism in Britain.


More topics: