“… the ruler demands gifts, the judge accepts bribes, the powerful dictate what they desire”

Micah 7:3

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Micah 7:1-6

The prophet Micah is miserable over the state of his nation. Nobody can be trusted, and people wait in ambush to do violence to each other. This sad and sorry state, Micah says, is because leaders could not be trusted, they used their power for personal gain.

Micah was from the countryside, a prophet who proclaimed God’s reproofs to the rich and ungodly leaders of Judah. Micah, like many of the prophets, champions the poor and the oppressed. With brutal honesty, he communicated a message of justice and mercy. He cared for God’s people with profound compassion. 

Micah graphically condemns Israel’s corrupt leaders and exposes their hypocrisy. God, the prophet says, is not fooled when leaders mouth the right words but have corrupt hearts. Political corruption, greed, arrogance was common amongst the leaders of his time. They didn’t care about the corporate good.

Micah says that when leaders lose their way, it is because they no longer see themselves as servant leaders. They endanger everyone in the organisation or nation.

Servant leaders place the interests and needs of their followers ahead of their self-interests and needs. Generally, they value the well-being and development of their followers, building their communities, acting authentically, and sharing power.

The premise of servant leadership is that the most effective and influential leaders are those who strive to serve others rather than take control or be in charge. The servant-leader will continually think about what involves the least damage or pain for the people over whose lives they have power. Servant leaders will value the worth of every person. The organisation or nation they build will honour the importance of every individual.

The prophet Micah proclaims a message this is especially relevant to the conditions we face in our society and country. Can you identify a servant leader? Is your leadership rooted in the heart of a servant leader, or are your desires the driving force behind your leadership?

Lord God,
Your son, Jesus, showed us the greatest example of servant leadership in his willingness to sacrifice everything, even his life, for us. Raise servant leaders in our times so that your people are cared for.

Fr Russell Pollitt SJ

Fr Russell Pollitt SJ is the Director of the Jesuit Institute and is interested in the impact that communications technology has on society and spirituality. He regularly comments on South African Politics and various issues in the Catholic Church.

director@jesuitinstitute.org.za @rpollittsj
See more from Russell Pollitt SJ
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