Leadership and (in)advertent associations

There was something profound in what the pastor of our local church in Bangalore said the other day, and it was that when Lot was found sitting at the entrance of Sodom, he had inadvertently associated himself placed himself in a position of taking responsibility for the actions of the people of Sodom as one of their leaders, since patriarchal custom indicates leaders of the city sitting at the gate of the city to discuss matters and take decisions pertaining to the city, and in any case, verse 9 proffers compelling evidence for the same: “this one came to stay here, and he keeps acting as a judge”.

This brought to mind several instances of where we find leadership double-edged; where joining a cause or even signing up for work means associating oneself with specific labels, advertently or (shudder!) inadvertently! Most of us are aware of what we are signing up for when we take up a job or a role or get ourselves associated with someone, or something. But I was also curious to find out what makes us ignore or exclude everything else to the single-minded pursuit of something that is possibly morally reprehensible.

These thoughts eventually blossomed into the sermon that you see here , which was recorded live at Bethel AG, Kolathur (Chennai) on 23-Jul-2017. The inception for any form of desire to succeed needs to come from a morally acceptable approach – I believe doing the right thing has it’s basis in God, in the knowledge of God, whether it was 4000 years in the past or today, and that is what the sermon is about – how two men started out bonded by blood, as uncle-nephew, and yet, as the days passed and profits grew, one man was motivated more by the profit than in standing by the source of his profit, and how it affected him in ways no one ever expected.

And if only to prove that this morally-right ideology is not unfashionable even today, in a world that is increasingly governed by the motive to profit as opposed to doing the right thing, it was a breath of fresh air to hear on the same day, that even at the pinnacle of Motorsport, in the face of possibly losing the Formula 1 world title for 2017,  Mercedes F1’s team boss Toto Wolff said “If I come back to what I think or what the purpose of us being here is, it is doing the right things and winning the right way. Sometimes doing it the right way and standing by your values is very tough. And it was today. I feel terrible” on Lewis Hamilton giving third place back to Valtteri Bottas at the Hungarian Grand Prix, even if it meant losing valuable points while already behind in keeping his hopes of becoming World Champion for the fourth time alive against Sebastian Vettel. It was not only incredible sportsmanship, but also team orders given by a leader, who chose to uphold “…doing the right things and winning the right way”.

There is translation from English to Tamil as well, in case any of you are interested* and my wife Shiny was literally roped in to provide the translation, in a manner rather reminiscent of the queen being blackmailed in Johnny English

Many thanks to Jim for providing the video link!


*I always find languages that I do not know strangely compelling, which is possibly how Tamil might sound to our international audience!


PS: As to the quip at the start, the church service starts at 5:30am, and I did not expect to see a sea of fresh, even smiling faces greet me that early – in fact, I was fairly certain I would yawn at some point!


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