When Winston Churchill hears of plans for the D Day landings in Normandy he fears the worst, his mind filled with the disaster he planned in World War One at Gallipoli, when a a quarter of a million men lost their lives. He fear the same will happen here, and tries to tell those in command. But he finds himself unheard and frustrated.
It’s not easy for him to hear the truth in this instance, but he does change his mind and makes plans to travel to the Normandy battle on the ships with the men, so that he is not left at home whilst so many young soldiers face death. He even invites the king to come along with him. The king at first agrees, then then Winston is summoned to visit his majesty.
Recognising that George is his king, and a leader with wisdom and authority, Churchill reluctantly obeys and agrees to stay at home for the sake of the nation. But it’s not easy for him, he does not want to be in the position of so many officers in WW1, who gave orders for the men to go into battle whilst remaining at a safe distance themselves. But he obeys, because he is man under authority.
It’s not easy to wrestle our pride into submission at times, especially when we feel strong and successful. Time and again Jesus’s friends had to do just that. Many of them were natural leaders with their own ideas. (Take a look at Matthew chapter 20 vv 20-28) But a key part of their following Jesus is about learning a new kind of leadership. Being prepared to listen, grow and change. ‘If you want to be in charge, much of it is about serving others,’ Jesus tells him one day. In the natural way of things leaders get recognition and accolades. But Jesus encourages his friends to nurture a different approach, different attitudes, different wisdom. Not an easy thing to do. In the end Churchill recognises the wisdom and authority of his king, and wrestles his ego into submission. But it’s a hard thing for him. A hard thing for us all. We need more than our strength, I do anyway. I need the grace and the strength and the Spirit of God to help me along with this. After all, God knows how we best function, he wired us up after all. (Psalm 139)
Eventually Winston is encouraged by his wife to do what he is best at – inspiring the nation…