Nelson Mandela languished 27 years a political prisoner; no contact with the outside world, unable to lead anyone. His burning goal during those years was to convince the prison authorities to let the prisoners wear uniforms more befitting of men. At this, he failed completely.
Sir Thomas More rotted away in the Tower of London, bereft of companionship, stripped of his influence and position. He was not allowed to read and had no writing materials. He held his spot and lost his head.
The day He died, there were more people in the crowd crying for Barabbas than for Jesus Christ, whose death proved more useful.
Sic Itur Ad Astra, Churchill was told, and he held to his stars during the lonely thirties when Lady Astor pronounced him finished and mocked him in the House of Commons.
If you think you are a leader, you had better enjoy the view ahead. If you look back to see how follows, or to the side to see who joins, you will become what our current leadership is become; panderer-in-chief.
Bonhoeffer was allowed some writing materials in prison. His guards spirited away some of his works to protect them for posterity. When he was led away to die, no one of his peers showed the courage to bemoan his agonizing death. Another generation would come and go before he was discovered, as the world sank into a superficial stupor. Our superficiality is why we think someone must follow if we are to be leaders. In truth, we must compromise every noble thought if we are to have followers in this empty age.
Opinions expressed here are mine alone, not those of the church I serve or any other person.