Feet of Clay
Last week, I blogged about cutting down the diseased birch trees that graced our backyard. Here’s the rest of the story. The birch trees served a dual purpose – beautification of our garden and natural posts for my hammock.
My instructions in the cutting of the trees was to leave enough height on the stumps for my hammock. Following completion of the work, I took a rest on my hammock with a cold glass of water in hand. Suddenly, with only the advanced warning of a cracking sound, my hammock, with me in it, fell eighteen inches to the ground. The stump hit me on the back of the head and neck, and the pain in the posterior part of my body made crawling to the door of my home the only option. As a result, my “ralk” (run and walk) has been reduce to a walk, that is until yesterday.
In keeping with a promise to share excerpts from the Commissioning a Lifestyle of Integrity Manual over the next few weeks, my hammock experience reminded me of something I wrote about Nebuchadnezzar.
“Throughout his reign, Nebuchadnezzar was plagued with troubling dreams that often kept him awake at night. His first dream consisted of an enormous statue that was awesome in appearance. Its head was made of pure gold…and its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. Daniel, in his interpretation of the dream, declared that Nebuchadnezzar was the head of gold…but something went tragically wrong in the King’s golden head. He erected a ninety-foot image of gold, summoned all the leaders of his kingdom, and insisted that they fall down and worship the golden image he had set up…Nebuchadnezzar, confident in his human ability, lost sight of the fact that it was God who gave him dominion and power.
Nebuchadnezzar lost his sense of awe when his position and power went to his head. He forgot the limits of his humanity which led to the loss of his dignity and ultimately his integrity. If not guarded, our leadership success will lead to obsession with power. Obsession with power will lead us to compromise our dignity and tempt us to control others. Controlling others will result in corrupted practices. Corrupted practices will rob us of our personal integrity and violate the dignity of those we lead.
In the midst of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, a rock, not made with human hands, was cut out of a mountain. The rock smashed the iron and clay feet of his statue. The entire statue was broken into pieces, and the wind blew the pieces away without leaving a trace.
Here is a sobering thought. You may think that you have a head of gold in your leadership position, but Nebuchadnezzar is a reminder that all of us have feet made of iron and clay. Your talent, abilities, gifting’s and education play a key role in your climbing to a place of position, because they are gifts from God. But a loss of awe and reverence for God and failure to recognise God as our source of power, leaves our clay feet vulnerable. Far too many leaders, who once had a place of influence and impact, have been crushed by corruption, and their dignity has been lost.”Until next time…