AS the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) and five regional corporations go to the polls on Monday, Justice Frank Seepersad reminded that leadership was a form of sacrifice not privilege.
Seepersad, who is also a lay minister, gave the sermon at the Susamachar Presbyterian Church, San Fernando, on Sunday evening. He said Christ-like leadership is fundamentally about giving and not taking.
“It does not focus on the propping up of one’s self but requires men and women who have strength of character, individuals of faith who are prepared to empty themselves for the good of others.”
“In God's eyes, leadership should not be pursued by those clawing for honour or recognition, but by those who are prepared to fall on their knees as they are inconvenienced, addressing the needs of others.”
“Leaders need to be patterned after the Son of Man who showed that his purpose was not to be served but to serve.”
He reminded the congregation of the recent leadership conflicts around the world, chief among them the uncertainty and unrest in the United States.
“Thankfully, democracy prevailed and there was a smooth transition of the presidency on Wednesday,” he said.
“In Uganda there were tensions with respect to their presidential results and tomorrow (Monday) in our sister isle of Tobago there is a leadership battle for control of the THA.”
Local government election will also be held in five regional corporations to replace representatives who won the seats in last August’s general election.
He said many often question why individuals, who hold themselves out for leadership positions, do so even as others avoid it because they perceive that leadership is about self-preservation, prosperity and propagation.
"An accomplishment places the victor unto a path of privilege. This perception, in large measure is the evident reality.
"Success is however contingent upon effective leadership and we all yearn success. When there is strong leadership in our homes, family life flourishes. When it exists in church, faith and faithfulness is fostered. When it exists in a country, fairness, fiscal strength and functional institutions find root.”
To achieve such leadership, he said one can follow the example of Jesus Christ who preached, according to the gospel of Matthew, that: “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant and whoever would be first among you must be your slave.”
“How many leaders follow these instructions? How many of those who pursue high office do so for shameful gain? How many even in our homes dominate those under their charge and inflict violence and abuse upon them? How many lead in ways which actually fail to emulate the fair and faultless life of Christ?” Seepersad asked.
“God expects our leaders not to measure greatness by the trappings of office and authority or to subjugate those who are beneath them. He expects leaders to make sacrifices and to execute decisions which serve the true needs of others.”