PS 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19
The psalm for today calls back to the time of the great leader, King David, and asks for the second chance of a clean heart. “A clean heart create for me, God; renew within me a steadfast spirit. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn (PS 51: 12, 19).” What does it mean to be a humble leader?
The first reading tells of a story from Jonah, in which he was sent to give a message of impending doom to the people of Nineveh, a city depicted as a wicked and worthy of destruction. After walking about the city for a full day, the people of Nineveh heed Jonah’s warning and humble themselves to ash and sackcloth. When the news reaches the king, he too sheds his royal attire and begins a fast. The city is ultimately spared due to the humility of its people and the piety of its king. The second reading from Luke goes one step further and applauds the people of Nineveh for acting upon their faith in God’s message, rather than requiring a spectacular sign or miracle. This message is especially significant considering that Nineveh was an enemy of Israel, and their leadership was being praised for heading the warning of Jonah, a foreigner to them.
As community members of SLU, we are called to be servant leaders in our communities. Whether we serve as CSO executive board members, team captains, staff members, administrators, or faculty members, we are called to lead; but no one said leadership was easy. Many times, we are caught wavering between decisions, discerning which path will lead to the greater good. Sometimes we make mistakes, but through humility – and in solidarity with the people we lead – we might be offered a second chance.
So, how will you lead? Who will you look to for support and mentorship in your path to becoming a humble servant leader, in a society that seems to reward arrogance and flattery? How will you ask forgiveness and grow from your mistakes, when it seems like there’s so much at risk? Will you wait for a divine sign, or trust unexpected advice?
Jeff Godowski is the Residence Hall Coordinator for Marguerite and Fusz Halls.