In Luke 12:1-3 Jesus continues to discuss the nature of 1st century Jewish leadership as he addresses his followers. The Pharisees and the Scribes had been his primary audience in Luke 11:37-54. Jesus had particularly gone after the leadership hypocrisy resident within the Pharisees and Scribes. With leadership titles, necessarily comes authority and power. The temptation is to take that power and authority and use it for command and control purposes. The temptation is to use it to our own ends. This sets the stage for hypocrisy because we tend towards “do as I say, not as I do.” The derivation of the word “hypocrisy” comes from the ancient Greek theater. It literally means “to wear the mask.” A Greek thespian would wear several masks in a single play to reveal several different characters. But what is normal in the world of acting should never become normal in the world of leadership.
In this section of the narrative, Jesus warns his closest followers about the leadership hypocrisy of the Pharisees. He equates it to leaven. Leaven, or yeast, is the active ingredient that, when inserted, causes dough to rise for the making of bread. It only takes a small amount to do the job because the very nature of leaven is to permeate and spread. Leadership hypocrisy does the same thing. Only a small amount of unchecked hypocrisy is needed to permeate and spread throughout a team or an organization. Leaders are seen as inauthentic. Followers follow grudgingly. Granted authority based on integrity evaporates and is replaced by a clear “command and control” culture.
Jesus highlights a critical principle for every leader in what he says next. In verse 2 Jesus states, Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Every leader needs to write this principle down, frame it, and keep it where they can see it every day. This is the law of sowing and reaping. This is the inescapable law of consequences. If you live a hypocritical life you will be found out. If you live a life that lacks integrity over time in any area, you will be found out. Jesus goes on to illustrate with an example. In verse 3 he states, Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and whatever you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops. This has never been more true that in our current age of social media. Daily, we are discovering the strange things leaders are saying in real time. And trust is eroding.
Leader, are you being hypocritical in your leadership-asking or demanding others to do what you are unwilling to do?
Leader, are you living and leading in deceit-thinking that your indiscretions and mixed messages will never be discovered?
Leadership is always leveraged. It is like leaven, for good or for bad. Lead well!