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The Opposite of ‘Right’

September 15, 2013

I once heard a guy pass a mischievous expression about his boss: “My boss is always right; he can never be wrong. Even when he is not right, he could only be left.” There, he presented two opposites of ‘right’.

There is however a third. It is supposed to be a feature of leadership. Have you ever considered leadership as motherhood or fatherhood, and followership as childhood? What are the rights that a father lays claim to in the home?

Dinner? He must have provided the means;

Respect/honour? He must have provided good upbringing;

Accommodation? The house is probably his.

Sort of… a father has no rights …only responsibilities, until his children become fathers and mothers. Then we see our parents concerned we do not call often, do not visit enough. And we cannot fault this since there is only one set of people that parents could call their children: their children!

So what do we call a father/mother who is being accommodated without paying; eating dinner without providing; or appropriating honour ‘by hand’?

What about a leader who is more concerned about the perks than the duties of office; about claiming the “rights” or leadership instead of performing the responsibilities of office?

There is a little book of national leadership in the bible called Nehemiah, which every progressive should read.  Here is a piece from it (chapter 5): 

I would like to mention that for the entire twelve years that I was governor of Judah…my aides and I accepted no salaries or other assistance from the people. This was quite a contrast to the former governors who had demanded food and wine and $100-a-day in cash, and had put the population at the mercy of their aides who tyrannized them; but I obeyed God and did not act that way. I stayed at work on the wall and refused to speculate in land; I also required my officials to spend time on the wall. All this despite the fact that I regularly fed 150 officials at my table, besides visitors from other countries! The provisions required for each day were one cows, six fat sheep, and a large number of domestic fowls; and we needed a huge supply of all kinds of wines every ten days. Yet I refused to make a special levy against the people, for they were already having a difficult time. O my God, please keep in mind all that I’ve done for these people and bless me for it.

Looking around at leaders living large, shepherds feeding fat on the sheep, while the following wallows in abjectness, one wonders if anyone still remembers that leadership is not a ‘right’, it is responsibility!

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2 Comments
  1. tolu okeleye permalink

    Thank you for the piece! Responsibility always strikes me as a coinage of ‘Response’ and ‘Ability’. This simply means the ability to respond to needs, challenges, issues etc. If responsibility is defined thus, then the hallmark of true Leadership is RESPONSIBILITY.

  2. jjF permalink

    True leadership, the type acceptable to our Maker, is not just a responsibility, it is a privilege and one that requires sacrifice.Unfortunately, most leaders of men have always seen their leadership positions as a right, an opportunity to lord it over their subjects/followers. This is particularly so in our dear country, Nigeria, where leaders loot the treasury in pursuit of selfish goals and leave the people who elected them into offices or otherwise put them in leadership positions in abject poverty, many hardly able to afford a meal a day! May God have mercy.
    Please keep prompting us, by God’s grace, God’s Kingdom will soon co,e where and when there will be an end to all forms of tyrany and man’s inhumanity to man.

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