Our discussion came around to leadership, and whether it is a leader's responsibility if the followers don't follow.
"Yes!" said my brother-in-law emphatically, the regional manager for a cell-phone company. "If they can't get the job done, they're gone."
Yet, time and time again, the Bible draws a picture of leaders who encouraged, warned, used word pictures and metaphors, put their own lives and lifestyles at risk, to lead people in God's ways. The people they were supposed to lead were often outright defiant, worshiping other gods and pursuing pagan lifestyles.
A pastoral mentor told me once, "if you want to know if you're a good leader, turn around and see who's following you."
So which is it? Is a leader measured by his or her principles, or by the number of people who are charmed into following, a la the Pied Piper?
I believe a leader has to have certain skills to influence others, but I want to follow a leader that has principles and values I agree with, and who does the right thing, even if it's not popular. This is why I keep my nose out of politics, because there are so few people in the arena who represent this ideal.
And if I am to be a leader, I want to be a leader like Jesus, who doesn't cut people off when they fail or fall away. No one is a lost cause; no person is beyond His reach. If I don't have followers, I want to know that I have done what is right and what I have been called to do. That is the legacy I want to leave behind.