Sunday reflection-The Hand Of A Leader


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Thomas Hobbes describes the “state of nature” as the human condition without government, rules or leaders. If humans were left to themselves without government, Hobbes claims, then life would be “solitary, nasty, brutish, poor and short.” This means that human beings are essentially selfish and without government, humans would hurt and kill each other without hesitation.

Nevertheless, Hobbes’ claim does not mean that the state of nature actually existed; it is a hypothetical situation describing the natural tendencies in man.  To curb the menace of human ‘state of nature’, human beings are found in a societal existence thereof submitting the individual wills that are in themselves selfish to the leader or government who orders these individual selfish WILLS of man to the good of the community. The motivating factor for entering a State is, therefore, voluntary submission of one’s will to a leader. Morality therefore is grounded in politics.

The state of nature is for Hobbes the condition of mankind when they have no contracted government to keep their natural appetites and rights in check. It has been characterized as “the war of all against all”. People are essentially machines that attempt to achieve their own sensuous desires, and in a world of scarcity, this brings them into inevitable conflict. Hence the need for a social contract between them, which sets up a civil power or what he describes as  “Leviathan” (the art of government or leadership).

At a moment best described as a dark period of the Israelites in Egypt when their life was brutish, seemingly meaningless and nasty as caused by both the Egyptians and among the Israelites themselves; God raised and called Moses as a government/leader among the people to whom the people all submitted their will and unalloyed allegiance (Exodus 3; 6-22).

Immediately after the call of Moses, God called to his consciousness the position he had assumed. Thus God asked Moses, ‘What is in your hand’ (Exodus 4;2)? In his hands was the shepherd staff which God knew quite well but just as he asked Cain about Abel and Eve about Adam, he rhetorically asked Moses in order to emphasize the known. That was the shepherd staff which was handed down to Moses through his descendants.

Just as in the context of the Palestinian world, the shepherd staff is a symbol of authority as a leader. Little wonder today the bishops are given a shepherd staff at ordination signifying their divine authority among the people of God. Thus the rod or shepherd staff in the hand of Moses was the symbol of his authority among the people of Israel.

With the authority of this rod, Moses divided the Red Sea (Exodus 14; 13-31), turned the Nile River into blood (Exodus 7; 17), to perform miracles in front of the pharaoh and to make water come out of a rock (Exodus 17; 1-6). This same rod in Moses’ hand today brought victory to the Israelites over the Amalekites.

It’s worth noting here that the rod was a source of victory through the positive cooperation of Moses. Raising his hands with the rod on the mountain caused a victory for God’s people Israel while lowering his hands made things difficult for them. Thus the same rod brought victory and failure as dependent on a positive agent who is the bearer of the rod/staff/authority-leader of the people.

Hence as leaders, we are positive agents of victory to our people if our hands are raised in uprightness and persistent prayer. More so, the event of Moses and the other leaders today prove to us the need for collaboration in leadership. Thus when the hands of Moses grew weary he was supported by members of the community: Aaron and Hur. That rings bells of awareness on the need for collaboration in service: ‘I can’t do it all neither do I know it all’ are the words of a wise leader.

In the same vein, following the logic of the Gospel reading, it is clear enough that the judge mentioned in the Gospel must not have been a Jewish judge since disputes were taken before the elders and there were 3elders or judges appointed to judge the case. So this judge was probably one of the judges appointed by the Romans or by Herod. These people were notorious for being corrupt and taking bribes. So to gain a favorable judgment a person would have to bribe the judge.

The mention of a widow is a symbol of all who were poor and defenseless: orphans, widows and the sick. These were the most vulnerable of this unfortunate victimization. Nevertheless, thank God this does not happen among us but among the judges appointed by the Romans or by Herod not those of Ebonyi State. Thank God. Should it be there is any of such, may our persistent prayer today win us victory and repentance.

It is a thing of joy we have gathered to say thank you Lord for finding us worthy to be custodians of his people in different dimensions; in our families, workplaces and custodians of our faith e.t.c. Nevertheless, I gathered to give thanks to God for being the shepherds in different dimensions holding the shepherd staff of authority; a necessary question is ‘has this staff in my hands brought victory/liberation/joy to my people or failure/bondage/defeat’? Has mine all these years been a rod or a wrath to my people/office? Glory to God if ours has been of victory and may he forgive us if otherwise.

Today we are challenged with the victimhood of a leader. The agony of the leader was the reason for his people’s liberation. In spite of the weariness of Moses’ hands, he did not give up because he knew the course he was pursuing. Rather with a radical and stubborn faith in God he was sustained and did not give uplifting his hands in prayerful intercession to God for the victory of his people.

This is the character of a good leader worth emulating. Thus like the stubborn intercessor and unwavering woman of today’s Gospel, Moses was unwavering too in his confidence in God and as such did not entertain a doubt as to whether the Lord would give them victory by his stubborn and persistent faith. By the fact of our baptisms, we have become elders in the church and as such leaders of various capacities. May the unwavering faith of Moses and the widow be our guide both in the service of our authority and our private petitions to God.

May we learn never to give up. Thus the hand of a leader as the hand of authority ought to be raised in uprightness and persistent prayer. So help us, God! Today we are challenged with the victimhood of a leader. The agony of the leader was the reason for his people’s liberation. In spite of the weariness of Moses’ hands, he did not give up because he knew the course he was pursuing. Rather with a radical and stubborn faith in God, he was sustained and did not give uplifting his hands in prayerful intercession to God for the victory of his people.

This is a character of a good leader worth emulating. Thus like the stubborn intercessor and unwavering woman of today’s Gospel, Moses was unwavering too in his confidence in God and as such did not entertain a doubt as to whether the Lord would give them victory by his stubborn and persistent faith. By the fact of our baptisms, we have become elders in the church and as such leaders of various capacities.

May the unwavering faith of Moses and the widow be our guide both in the service of our authority and our private petitions to God. May we learn never to give up. Thus the hand of a leader as the hand of authority ought to be raised in uprightness and persistent prayer. So help us, God!

Sunday reflection


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