What History Teaches Us

This week’s reading discussed Queen Elizabeth as a historical example of leadership. The question that Burns (2003) posed was “Was she more the maker of history or a product of it” (p. 39)? He cited the circumstances surrounding her reign, such as religious divisions, mistrust in a female ruler, and incessant plots against her life, as strong influences in her style of leadership.When most monarchs might try to restore order through strict rule as her sister Mary did by promoting radical Catholicism, Elizabeth chose to focus on keeping the throne stable to offer a “still center” between whatever other issues might divide her countrymen (Burns, 2003, p. 40). “Stability was to be guarded at the expense of other values, such as liberty and justice” (Burns, 2003, p. 41).

When comparing this ideology to my business major, I set the monarchy on the same level as the CEO. In some hierarchical businesses structures, a strict, no-nonsense boss might be a great leader (I think of Bernard Ebbers, CEO of WorldCom [Cooper, 2008]). However, in the majority of company leadership examples I can think of, the best leaders are much more adaptable and concerned with issues at every level of their company.

Fortunately we don’t have to be monarchs who control and know everything. As Christians, we’ve been given a diversity of talents that work together as one body (Wigg-Stevenson, 2013). We have a CEO in Jesus–we are only in charge of our own specific roles in promotion of the whole body.

Thinking about all this, from Jesus to Good Queen Bess to the present, I realize how glad I am that I don’t have to be responsible to save the world, or even a kingdom. Because we are one body with Christ as our ‘boss,’ we are able to care about “everything Christ cares about, but to carry only what he has given us to bear” (Wigg-Stevenson, 2013).


1. Burns, James MacGregor. (2003). Transforming leadership: A new pursuit of happiness. New York, NY: Grove Press.
2. Cooper, Cynthia. (2008). Extraordinary circumstances. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
3. Wigg-Stevenson, Tyler. (2013). The world is not ours to save: Finding the freedom to do good. Downers Grove, Illinois, USA: InterVarsity Press.

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