The signs of outstanding leadership appear primarily among the followers. Are the followers reaching their potential? Are they learning? Serving? Do they achieve the required results? Do they change with grace? Manage conflict?
~ Max De Pree
“What signs can you do?” That was the question asked by Jesus’ detractors in today’s gospel. Jesus knew that there was no sign that would make them believe. They had already hardened their hearts against Him. Whatever He would have said, whatever He would have done, would have been explained away and rejected.
Jesus, however, had much to offer and was a tremendous leader. If we want to see what signs Jesus has to offer as a leader, we could easily look at Max De Pree’s definition of leadership.
Are Jesus’ followers reaching their potential? I would think so. Look at the number of saints who have given us great examples to follow throughout the years. Consider the number of people who give of their time to serve others in need without looking for any return.
Are they learning? The Church, throughout the years, has made incredible strides in learning. It has been front and center in helping others learn through the ages as well.
Are they serving? St. Vincent de Paul, Soup Kitchens, Hospices, Nursing Home, Shut-Ins — all these are opportunities to serve God’s people and they are always staffed by an incredible amount of volunteers eager to come to the aid of others.
Do they achieve the required results? There have been many people through the ages who have turned their lives around because of the example of a believer. St. Maria Goretti appeared to the man who murdered her as he was in prison and he became a Catholic. Maximilian Kolbe gave his life in the place of another prisoner. That prisoner, later, testified in the canonization proceedings and became a convert to the faith. The “required result” has always been a person turning his or her life around and coming back to or closer to God.
Do they change with grace? We are creatures of habit and change is incredibly difficult for us. Because of that, we do our best not to change. However, our history has been one of change. It is only through grace that we have made the many changes that were required of us.
Do they manage conflict? Our history, sadly, has been one of conflict as well. We have not always been the best at managing it but the Church constantly reminds us of the necessity to be a people of peace, love, mercy, and forgiveness. That is something that we will struggle with each day of our lives but, with God’s grace, we will prevail.
If someone would ask Jesus today, “What signs can you show us…”, hopefully, He would be able to say, “Look at any one of my followers, listen to them and observe what they do. They are my proof of God’s love in the world.”
FAITH ACTION: What signs do you manifest that you are a believer in Jesus Christ? If they are not that evident to others, make them more so today.