hope for churches in stress

Little Things

In a recent reprise of the Joseph story (Gen. 39:20-21), Nelson Mandela developed the traits and skills of magnanimous leadership in prison—by unwavering concentration on little things.

Mandela started each day with vigorous physical exercise. He rigorously maintained a positive outlook. As work assignments allowed, he engaged in day-long debates among prisoners. He worked to improve relationships among prison factions. He assisted inmates with legal appeals. He read widely. He studied Afrikaans, the language of his adversaries. For rest and respite, he tended a garden.

Mandela challenged the prison system in an unrelenting struggle for basic rights. He was resolute in addressing grievances, yet always communicated with courtesy. His aim was to achieve concessions through negotiation rather than confrontation. ​

Mandela entered prison as a zealous revolutionary. At his release 27 years later, one biographer wrote, he was “restrained, profoundly thoughtful of others, deeply humble, and eager to detect good qualities even in his political adversaries.”

By purposeful investment in the challenges at hand, prison became a university for Mandela. In this harsh school, he earned the equivalent of multiple PhD’s—in discipline, negotiating skills, and character. When the time came to negotiate freedom and lead the nation, Mandela was ready.

Like Joseph, Madela’s endeavors during years of incarceration remind us of Jesus words: “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much. . . (Lk 16:10). More often than not, the best preparation for the future is to invest in little things now.

Quote from David Aikman, Great Souls: Six Who Changed the Century, p. 69


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Classic
  • Twitter Classic
  • Google Classic

Barnabas Initiatives is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Donors are invited to contribute. Client churches are asked to reimburse expenses, but are not assessed a fee for service. Instead, as they are able, churches are asked to consider a per diem or customized contribution. 

get social
  • Facebook Clean Grey
  • Twitter Clean Grey

P.O. Box 589

Elizabethtown, PA 17022



© 2019 by Barnabas Initiatives

Created with Wix.com

This site was designed with the
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now