By Patricia Mukhim
When Christ said, “Give Caesar what is Caesar’s,” he did not mean that his followers should wash their hands of the politics of the day and focus only on spiritual things. The human person does not live only in the realm of the spirit.
Each person embraces one or the other faith. Since Meghalaya is a Christian majority state, this article will focus on this religious group. The Christians meet every Sunday in the churches; they enter a groove and go through the same repetitive rituals. There is no challenge in breaking the status quo of preaching and worshiping songs. Rituals are so ingrained in the Christian psyche that any attempt by anyone to suggest a new path of breakthrough is seen as a threat. People have become so used to the comfort zone drawn around them that they expect no change and perhaps view change as a threat to the very idea of Christianity. And yet, it is not what Christ did and taught in his lifetime that is to challenge the power structures of his time.
When Christ said, “Give Caesar what is Caesar’s,” he did not mean that his followers should wash their hands of the politics of the day and focus only on spiritual things. The human person does not live only in the realm of the spirit. She needs food, hospitals and health facilities to cure her physical ailments. She needs a functional education that can stimulate her intellect and help her to make intelligent choices in life and especially to elect the right candidate to assume the leadership of the state. Education is also needed to empower them to speak out when the MP/MP fails to meet expectations and begins to adopt a self-serve mode at the expense of their constituents. A Christian intellectual rightly defined Christ as an existential social reformer and the first socialist.
I would recommend all casual preachers of the Christian faith read Obery Hendricks’ book – The Politics of Jesus: Rediscovering the True Revolutionary Nature of Jesus’ Teachings and How They Were Corrupted. Obery, who holds a doctorate in religion from Princeton University, is described as a longtime social activist and one of the leading commentators on the intersection of religion and political economy in America. He is the most widely read and perhaps the most influential African-American Bible scholar today. Cornel West, the author of “Race Matters”, calls Obery Hendricks “one of the last great prophetic intellectuals”.
In one of his many lectures, Dr. Hendricks urges Christian preachers to follow Jesus’ seven political strategies, including: addressing the needs of people as saints, giving a voice to the voiceless, exposing the mechanisms of oppression and challenging the established order of things. Do preachers today even remotely follow any of the above? Or are they too hesitant to shake the hornet’s nest for fear of losing their subscriptions? Dr. Hendricks further explains: “To say that Jesus was a political revolutionary is to say that the message he proclaimed not only called for a change in individual hearts, but also demanded a radical change. and comprehensive of the political, social and economic structures of his country. brought to life – a colonized Israel. At one event, Dr Hendricks expressed his deep disappointment with political leaders who profess to be Christians but do not act in a way that reflects the teachings of Jesus. He said: “Christianity is about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, protecting the most vulnerable, but some chosen ones only care about their own interests.
Reading the book “Jesus’ Leadership Strategy,” by Michael Hyatt, one learns of so many people who bravely dove deep into the life and times of Jesus without caring if it offends anyone, which is so different from what our preachers do. today which is literally walking on eggshells, especially when the great and powerful are around. No wonder they’ve lost their edge and dulled their preaching. If their teachings touched the heart, we would have seen people denouncing the extent of the corruption that surrounds them. Alas! People are asleep in a sleep where only money is the quick fix agent.
Michael Hyatt in his book says, “Much of the activity I see among leaders today is focused on reaching the masses. Successful leaders speak at major conferences, host popular television shows, publish bestselling books, write successful blogs, or engage in social media. Simply put, their focus is “breadth”. They want to influence. They want to extend their influence to as many people as possible. No problem with that. But Jesus had a very different leadership strategy. That’s not where it started.
Hyatt explains that Jesus’ goal wasn’t “reach” or popularity. On the contrary, he actively discouraged advertising. Citing the example of what he calls the breathtaking miracle of Jesus, such as making a lame man walk or bringing the dead back to life, Jesus is remembered as saying, “Tell no one what you have seen (Matthew 8:4; 16). :20; 17:9; Mark 7:36; 8:30; 9:9; Luke 5:14; and 8:56). In short, Jesus was a publicist’s nightmare because he avoided publicity. How are our preachers today in terms of the desire to garner publicity? Need a reality check here.
Jesus, says Hyatt, focused on true depth and long-term impact and to achieve this he followed a 5-pronged leadership strategy. Here are Jesus’ leadership strategies
1. He conducted himself. This is where all leadership begins. Self-leadership precedes team leadership and public influence. If you can’t lead yourself, you can’t (and shouldn’t) lead others.
This is why Jesus often withdrew to quiet places to pray (Matthew 14:23; Luke 5:16; 6:12; 22:41-44). He fought the devil to prove his character (see Matthew 4:1–11). He knew that his character—his identity—was the foundation of his ministry.
2. He confided in the three. Jesus had an inner circle of Peter, James, and John. He took them on special outings (see Matthew 17:1). He allowed them to witness his greatest glory (Mark 9:2-3) and his deepest temptations (Mark 14:33-34).
He prayed with them (Luke 9:28f). He taught them things He did not teach others (Matthew 17:2; Mark 5:37-43). He even introduced them to his heavenly family (Matthew 17:3). They were his closest friends and confidants.
He formed the twelve. He chose the twelve disciples to be “with him” (Mark 3:14a). He taught them and also gave them assignments (Mark 3:14b-19). However, he also shared with them his daily life. As the Apostle Paul would years later, he poured out his very life upon them (1 Thessalonians 2:8). For this reason, he entrusted them with the power to do the work that he himself had done. In fact, he promised them that they would do greater works (John 14:12-14).
He mobilized the Seventy. Jesus had a smaller, more intimate group to whom he entrusted specific missions. He sent them two by two. He asked for a BIG commitment. He gave them virtually no resources. Yet he demanded that they perform miracles. He told them to expect opposition (Luke 10:1-12) and promised no earthly reward (Luke 10:18-20).
He taught the multitudes. Jesus had a public ministry. He sometimes spoke to thousands of people. However, he did not flatter these groups or “tickle their ears”. He confronted the status quo, shook the sensibilities of his listeners, and often taught in parables. Interestingly, he didn’t feel the need to clarify everything. He often left his audience confused and wondering what he meant. His goal was apparently to change their paradigm and make them think.
Jesus’ leadership strategy obviously worked well. In one generation, his followers turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6).
Hyatt laments that after interacting with leaders at all levels for more than three decades, he finds that most of them focus only on the last two strategies and skip over the other three. In short, they have a public teaching ministry and are good at mobilizing groups for specific missions, but few take the time and have the conviction to intentionally train a small group of disciples. There are even fewer leaders who build deep relationships with a handful of confidants. Sadly, even fewer are behaving well and therefore not having the long-lasting or far-reaching impacts that they could have.
In the final analysis, Hyatt confesses, “The older I get, the more value I see in going the extra mile with a few. Leading the masses may feed my ego, but it won’t guarantee an impact that will outlast me.
I first heard of Obery Hendricks and Michael Hyatt at the Leadership Training Institute in Maui, Hawaii, and since then have followed their teachings and found them to be invaluable goals to pursue.
At this point when we are engulfed in the fog of corruption at all levels of governance and a kind of desperation overwhelms us even as we await the 2023 elections, one wonders if any of the church leaders who approached the government to protest the opening of casinos and the legalization of gambling if they ever questioned corruption in the MDA government? Is gambling the only sin? So why this hypocrisy?