«A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold» (Proverbs 22:1).
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in Mvezo (South Africa Union, today South Africa) on July 18, 1918, in the bosom of a family of devout Christians. From a very young age he suffered from the brutality of apartheid, that is to say, racial segregation by the white minority. Education in Christian schools, a strong attachment to his faith, and his training as a lawyer gave him the foundation for his future struggle for equality without distinction of race and against the colonialism exerted by the British Empire on his land. Mandela’s activism made him a target of all kinds of attacks, until in 1962 he was arrested and charged with conspiracy to overthrow the government, so he was sentenced to life in prison. Nelson Mandela spent twenty-seven years in prison because of his ideas. Finally, the numerous international campaigns in favor of his release produced results and he was released in 1990. The world fixed their eyes on him. Suffocated by the weight of his moral authority’, Frederik de Klerk’s government opened the door to him to negotiate the abolition of apartheid and the establishment of general elections, in which Mandela was elected president of South Africa (1994-1999).
Throughout his life he received 250 awards and honorable mentions, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. Mandela died on December 5, 2013. In South Africa and around the world his name is a cause for enormous respect. In his country he is known as the «father of the South African nation.»
There are several ways to gain access to power. Of course, not all of them are very virtuous. For example, there are those who come to it simply by a matter of genetics; others avail themselves of all kinds of nonsense, intrigues, and arbitrariness to obtain one of these responsibilities. But these methods do not provide the weight of moral authority. This is acquired through other means, as Ellen White says: «Century after century, men of principle and integrity, men of intellectual acuteness and moral strength, who had the courage to avow their convictions and the faith to suffer for the truth—for centuries these men toiled as slaves in the galleys, perished at the stake, or rotted in dungeon cells»—The Great Controversy, ch. 15, p. 277.
Being able to go out on the street with your head held high and enjoy the respect of others is much more valuable than money and power.
Ask the Lord today to help you be a person of moral authority.