Good but naive!
“Gedaliah vowed to them that the Babylonians meant them no harm. “Don’t be afraid to serve them. Live in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and all will go well for you,” he promised.”
Jeremiah 40:9 NLT
Gedaliah is a good example of an effective leadership in times of crisis.
- His leadership was recognized even by their conquerors. Nebuzaradan Babylonian commander treated with grace, kindness and mercy to Jeremiah, so if he had not considered a good option that the prophet lived with Gedaliah he would have said so him.
- Gedaliah was placed in charge of the poorest and most violent country people. Certainly this wasn’t an easy task; to rule these people should have required more effort, they are usually people who have no future vision, they just live day to day; with this kind of people should not be easy to rebuild a country, there are hopeless people, but Gedaliah accepted this challenge.
- Gedaliah “gave encouragement to all”. They had just been defeated by Babylon and became homeless; many of them perhaps lost family or friends during the invasion, but he gave them courage, a leader knows how to encourage even when things seem lost.
- He promised to “represent” them before invaders. A good leader pleads for his team, not only encourage them but defend them and seeks they welfare, and he offers as an intermediary.
- Gedaliah did not encourage dependency. He asked his followers do what they knew to do, and do it in benefit of the group, he asked them to engage in agricultural work; consequently he attracted more followers, people who joined the cause voluntarily.
But Gedaliah made a big mistake, and is a mistake that should be avoided by every leader; is being naive or too trusting, we must recognize that a good leader always will have enemies.
© David García Licona – November 2013