Profiles in Leadership—Bramble-king—April 16, 2017

Vol. 2, No. 16 – 2017brambles

Gideon had a concubine in Shechem, who presented him with a son named Abimelech. Judges 8:31-9:57

When the one who is in authority leaves, I will get my own way! Following leaders often fall into the trap of trying to do things their own way.

As soon as Gideon was buried, Abimelech, “the reckless,” went berserk for prestige and power. In a villainous coup d’état, he gets rid of all his competition. He wants to be in charge. 69 half-brothers are slaughtered.

People will do strange and horrible things in a lust for power and control.

As many leaders today, Abimelech is a self-appointed opportunist; he wants the power and prestige that goes with the position. It is not just that he only wants to be king, he wants his own way. He wants to control things. He wants things to be done in only one way—his way. Wow! How current! Think of the struggle between Democrat and Republican elites, world dictators, and Islamic terrorists.

Jotham, his half-brother, said Abimelech was a prickly shrub—a bramble-king. Brambles are branches or bushes, often thorny, and are only good for burning, or starting fires. Bramble people make poor leaders, they burn things. Germany had a bramble-leader.

Fuhrer Hitler’s communication with his audiences was uncanny. He established a rapport almost immediately and deepened and intensified it as he went on speaking, holding them completely in his spell. In such a state, they easily believed anything he said, even the most foolish nonsense. William L. Shier, 1934.

How many leaders are you aware of that lead with foolish nonsense?

Abimelech got what he wanted by smooth-talking others for support and money. With a financial power base, he brings thugs and cronies to work alongside of him, and executes any that step in his way.

Like Abimelech, many leaders today have a fear they may finish last (in fact, they are taught that outcomes will follow if they finish even below the top tier). Leaders of this kind do not seek counsel, they issue executive orders and let the chips fall where they may.

In reality, good leaders need not fear, or be ashamed to finish below the top tier. Many leaders discover they need to relinquish power, and learn to be a servant, in order to be successful. That is not the way corporate America, or institutional America, views leader function.

Another leader, Jesus Christ, turns an old nursery rhyme around.

        Finders weepers,
        Losers keepers

Abimelech got to the top his way, but the parade was already headed the other way; too often true in today’s world.

The way to get to the head of a parade is to go to the end of the line. William O’Malley

If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and servant of all. Mark 9:35

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