Ministry Leaders, Beware of the Ides of March

Shakespeare penned the phrase, “Beware of the Ides of March” in his play, “Julius Caesar.”

A soothsayer warned Caesar of impending danger on that day.  He apparently ignored the warning.  Some say a friend convinced him that it was nothing more than superstitious foolishness.  Others say he may have mixed up the date.  The middle of each of the twelve ancient Roman months was called the ides.  In March, May, July, and October it fell on the 15th but on all the other months it fell on the 13th.  Perhaps Caesar mistakenly hid himself at home on the 13th and so when the 15th came, his guard was down.  Whatever the reason, Julius Caesar went to Pompey’s theater on March 15 of 44 B.C. to attend a senate meeting and was stabbed to death.

The lesson for us comes not only in his disregard of the warning but in why the warning was necessary.

Julius Caesar was a dictator whose exercise of power and control was met with great resentment and criticism by his enemies.  The conspiracy to kill him, however, involved his “friends.”

Christian leaders and teachers are exhorted by Jesus to be servants, not dictators, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  See Matthew 20:25-28.

“Beware of the Ides of March” if you are using your position in the church as a means of controlling others and the agenda.  Danger could lie ahead.  You might think people are on your side, but the day could come when even your “friends” rise up against you.

“Beware of the Ides of March” if someone else in your church is allowed to engage in power plays.  Your church could be in for some trouble.

Help yourself, and others, instead to . . .

Maintain integrity. Be real.  Who you are at home and who you are in the pulpit, classroom, or boardroom should be authentic.

Minimize obstacles. What is keeping you from being who you ought to be?  What is keeping you from being a true servant?

Maximize your knowledge. Learn from others.  Don’t let yourself believe that you have arrived.  You do not know everything.  The input of others is valuable.

Model after God. Following after His character and ways will prevent you from the abuses and misuses of leadership.

“Beware of the Ides of March” by learning the lesson from Caesar’s life.  Even more importantly, listen to Jesus’ words in Luke 22:25-26,

“The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors.  But you are not to be like that.  Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.”

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