Kempis makes the case that one can only be a good leader if he has learned to be led (1,20). This makes sense. How is a person able to oversee others if he has no appreciation of having been an underling and accepting orders from another?
Jesus, in today’s Gospel (Mt 23:1-12), takes aim once more at the Jewish religious leaders of His time. Note that Jesus does not decry their God-given position and teaching (“do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you”) but rather their bad example: looking for attention while treating poorly those not in their position and subject to them in religion. Had their focus been on their Creator, they would have properly felt humility as they should be imitating the One from whom all teaching flows and to whom all glory is to be given. Had the scribes and Pharisees exhibited servant leadership then they would have been properly aligned with the Lord’s expectations of them.
These men would have securely governed had they lived in subjection to God. Pride, that deadly sin, would not allow room for the virtue of humility they so desperately needed. Jesus tried to raise their awareness of this fact time and again only to find that it landed Him on the Cross. What cross are we willing to bear, to be raised up on, in our subjection to God? And will those challenges lead us to be servant leaders in truth and love?