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Leaders and Followers

You’ve heard it said that some are natural born leaders. They have vision, motivation and charisma—which draws people to them. In addition, they must have good ideas and be able to articulate them with knowledge and passion. But there is a sense in which even good leaders are followers, which can lead to negative consequences.

Some people follow themselves. Yeah, that sounds strange, but it’s true. I’m talking about a natural inclination that we must all decide what to do with. Another word that can help unpack the meaning of inclination is propensity. Let’s look at the definitions of both from Merriam-Webster:-

1. Inclination – A natural disposition, a particular disposition of mind or character.

2. Propensity – An often intense natural inclination or preference.

Although strong leaders may not think of themselves as followers, they often follow their own preferences and inclinations. This is not necessarily bad, unless it leads them to put their own interests above others and to form a myopic view of the world—which results in a lack of foresight and discernment.

“If we were left to follow our own inclinations, to go just where our will would lead us, we [would] fall into Satan’s ranks and become possessors of his attributes. Therefore, God confines us to His will, which is high, and noble, and elevating. He desires that we shall patiently and wisely take up the duties of service” (Desire of Ages, p. 329).

When we serve others and work to make the world a better place, we are following God’s lead. The “yoke” of service he “imposes” upon his followers is “light” because we were created to serve and be useful. Our natural inclination is to be served; to be waited on, hand and foot. The danger with wealth is that we are tempted to use it to cater to our own wishes, at the expense of others.

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About Rich DuBose

Rich DuBose

is director of Church Support Services for the Pacific Union Conference.

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