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The Mordecai Effect: a leadership principle


I love the ending to the Book of Esther. It says, "For Mordecai the Jew was next in rank to King Ahasuerus, and he was powerful among the Jews and popular with his many kindred, for he sought the good of his people and interceded for the welfare of all his descendants" (Esther 10:3, NRSV).


Here was Mordecai, a once-persecuted Jewish man in the Persian empire who--because of his faith, patience, and inherent goodness--eventually rose to a place of significant influence and power under the Persian king. In such a position, it would have been all-too-easy for Mordecai to start thinking highly of himself, to abuse his power, and to become detached from the realities of his people and his personal history. But he didn't! In fact, he continued to seek "the good of his people" and maintain concern for their welfare. He was so diligent in these matters that he remained "popular with his many kindred."


There is an old saying that goes, "Absolute power corrupts absolutely." In many cases this is true. Far too many leaders allow the allure of prestige, position, power, and pride to lead them astray. But on other occasions, there are leaders who maintain right perspective, foster genuine humility, and suppress selfish ambition in order to become not only effective, but also respected leaders. This is what we see in Mordecai.


So what am I trying to say? I'm writing this blog article to proclaim my hope in the powerful influence of God in our lives and leadership! In our humanity, we are prone to the extremes of the flesh. But when we submit ourselves to God in humble obedience, He can do mighty things with us, to include giving us positions of leadership and power without our taking advantage of them. When, like Mordecai, we seek first the things of God, He can keep us from going astray and becoming that which is neither pleasing to Him nor others. It's really a pretty simple principle of leadership that I call "The Mordecai Effect": stay close to God and he'll help us stay close to Him and maintain our grasp on reality; venture away from God or let the concerns and cares of the world entice us, and...well...we may become absolutely corrupted.

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