It's Lonely At The Top - The Warrior's Journey®

It’s Lonely At The Top

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

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“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’”  (Luke 11:1) 

Jesus endured a lot of criticism by outsiders over His training of the disciples. “Why don’t your disciples fast?”  “Why do You allow Your disciples to do what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”  “Why do Your disciples transgress the traditions of the elders by not washing their hands before eating bread?” And He could have easily interpreted this request from the disciples as a critique of His leadership as well. It may have sounded like, “Lord, why don’t You teach us to pray the way John taught his disciples?”  It might have suggested that John the Baptist did a better job of training disciples than Jesus.   

Had we been in Jesus’ place, we might have let our moodiness get the better of us. We might have snapped back, “Well, if you think John was such a better leader, why didn’t you follow him?’”  But not Jesus. Though Jesus was tempted in every way as we are, He never sinned or failed (Hebrews 4:15).   

You see, Jesus knew exactly how to teach, train, nurture, and discipline each of His disciples. He could see inside them and diagnose their weaknesses – but also their strengths. Jesus knew exactly which specific trials and pressures to send them to get them to acknowledge their need for Him and get them to trust in God. No top-ranked boxer ever had a trainer like Jesus. Jesus has a perfect plan for each of us, a plan that will take us from being a child of wrath and transform us into a glorified child of God. He could not possibly be threatened by any suggestion that John the Baptist was a better trainer.  Besides, Jesus was teaching His disciples to pray. Jesus modelled prayer before them (Luke 3:21-22; 4:42; 5:16; 6:12; 9:18, 28-29; 11:1; 22:41-45). 

To be truthful, Jesus was invulnerable to criticism. You see, Jesus was not dependent upon anyone other than His Father for approval, affirmation, or validation.  Man’s criticism was irrelevant. Jesus knew that the Father was well pleased with Him (Mark 1:11; 9:7; John 8:29), and that is all that mattered to Him. Therefore, knowing and communing with His Father made Him impervious to man’s disapproval and criticism. 

Leadership can be a very lonely and unforgiving place. Leaders are constantly subjected to criticism and – if they fail – condemnation. And if they carry emotional scars and wounds from the past, this will only intensify the pain and loneliness they feel. This is why it’s imperative that leaders make Jesus their senior partner in every leadership position. They need Christ to fortify them against the pain and pressures of command. 


  • Are you a wounded leader? Do you feel as though you’re running on empty? 
  • What if you lived every day knowing that God loves you and values you?   
  • God loves you zealously. He’s you greatest fan. Let Him strengthen you. 

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