“Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, for you know that we who teach shall be judged with greater strictness.” (James 3:1)
Today’s first reading from the book of James is so full of wisdom especially to those in any kind of authority, be it civil or ecclesiastical as well as those who aspire for positions of leadership. First James warns us that as leaders (teachers), we shall receive a more severe judgment because as the saying goes, “to whom much is given, much more is expected.”
Being a leader is not and should never be taken as an opportunity to lord it over others as the Gentiles do, rather it must be seen as a vocation to serve others, (Cf. Matthew 20:25-26).
Know that as a leader, you are responsible for the moral life of your followers, if you do not lead by example, if you commit scandal, you would be leading one of these little ones astray and as such, it would be better for a millstone to be hung around your neck while you are thrown into the sea. (Mark 9:42).
As St. James put it, the vocation of leadership demands that you strive each day for perfection otherwise, it is better to be a follower than a leader.
St. James goes on to speak about the power of the tongue. In truth, the tongue is one of the smallest visible organs of the body but if it is not properly controlled, it can cause the whole body to be destroyed by fire.
To draw our attention to the kind of power contained in our tongue, St. James describes the tongue as “a restless evil, full of deadly poison”, something we use in changing lives either for good (by blessing) or for evil (by cursing). As a leader, you can never succeed unless you learn to control your tongue.
Finally, we must know that leadership is never easy. A leader who is not ready to suffer can never be a good leader. By taking Peter, James, and John up the mountain of the Transfiguration, Jesus sought to strengthen their faith in anticipation of the Cross meanwhile Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and the Prophets appeared to prepare Jesus himself for the trials and struggles of the Cross.
A good leader must be prepared to take the hard road knowing there is an assurance of glory that comes after painful struggles. Above all, a good leader never disregards the voice of Jesus, the most excellent leader.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, fill me with wisdom that I may be a better leader. Amen
Bible Study: James 3:1-10, Ps. 12:2-5,7-8, Mark 9:2-13).