Four days after Katrina hit, I can remember looking at the television thinking that America had forgotten about New Orleans. Looting was picking apart the city, rumors of women getting raped and children getting killed in the French Quarter due to a lack of police presence were rampant. People had no food, no water, and it did not look as if any help was coming. I remember thinking that these scenes were common in third world countries, but in America?? I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Four days after the storm however, a change happened. A new person showed up on the scene. Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, was put in command of the situation in New Orleans by President Bush. He was given the title of Commander, Joint Task Force Katrina. Nothing happened or was done in that city without first being approved by Gen. Honoré. When things couldn’t have gotten any worse, a proven leader showed up. Gen. Honoré was in charged of training all of the National Guard troops that entered the US army, but had been flown down to New Orleans to reestablish law and order. When he landed at the Louis Armstrong International Airport, he had a meeting with his advisors and the different task force leaders. He sat them down and said this: “I want everyone out of the Superdome and I want everyone out of the Convention Center and moved to a safe place out of the state in 24 hours.” His advisors immediately started telling him how much that would cost and the task force leaders explained to him about the lack of transportation and military personal necessary to accomplish the job. After a few minutes of objections from his staff, Gen. Honoré stood up and interrupted them saying, “I’m sorry, you must not have heard me. I want everyone out of the Superdome and out of the Convention Center and moved to a safer place where they can be taken care of... and now you have 23 hours and 58 minutes to do it!” Guess what happened? In 24 hours, everyone had been moved out of the Superdome and Convention Center and bused to either Houston or Dallas, among other places.
At the close of the Old Testament, there was a 300-year time period in which a fresh word from God seemed almost non-existent. (This is the period between the Old and New Testament.) Some of the followers of God may have thought that they had been forgotten. The world was lost, corruption infiltrated government, and morals and values were being downplayed. But then a new guy showed up… a man who would prove to be a leader, changing the outlook of the future for people all around him and for all generations to come. His name was Jesus. He was sent by God to save the world, and when he entered into the ministry he hit the ground running. He performed miracles, healed people from their illnesses, and gave peace to a troubled world. He was a wise leader who had high expectations of his followers. Ultimately, because of his servant leadership and sacrifice, he not only gave a chance at life to a city, but to an entire world.
This new year is not only a chance for a fresh start, but a new life. A new life in Christ will give you certainty of a new life in heaven. Jesus came to the earth to get things done. As his followers, we need to have the same attitude and servant leadership heart to share the message and bring a world in despair to the only One who can help.
-Spending time in the Word-
Read Mark 10:43-44. How would you describe “servant leadership?” What other places in the Bible can you find cases where Jesus led by being a servant?
-Hiding the Word in your heart-
1. Titus 1:7-“Since a leader is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless - not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, and not pursuing dishonest gain.”
2. Hebrews 13:7-“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.”