Today’s reading is drawn from Mark 8:31-33.
Jesus consistently cast an energizing vision of God’s coming kingdom. His vision was so compelling that his disciples left everything to follow him. In this passage, Jesus tells the disciples that his vision would demand his own total commitment to it. His description was so graphic that Peter rebuked him. But Jesus knew he had to risk his disciples’ rejection of the vision by telling them what it would cost to achieve it. Any leader who paints the goal without painting the path to that goal is in danger of failing to realize the vision.
John Ryan, president of Center for Creative Leadership, writes, “leadership success always starts with vision.” He then adds, “Compelling visions can change the world. But staying invested in them can be extremely difficult when hard times arrive.”
Great leaders, says Ryan, cast visions that “can be—and in fact should be—challenging to put into action. They realize them only by setting realistic, demanding goals and then going after them relentlessly.” And then he adds this key statement, “Indeed, when it comes to living out a vision, persistence matters just as much as inspiration.”*
Jesus painted a compelling vision, but he never pulled any punches when warning his followers that there would be prices to pay. Leaders owe followers an honest and complete picture when they paint a glorious future. To promote the prize and hide the price is not only unfair; it is a strong invitation for people to jump ship in the first storm.
*Ryan, “Leadership Success Always Starts With Vision.”