In the eleventh century King Henry III of Bavaria grew tired of court life and the pressures of being a monarch. He made an application to Prior Richard at a local monastery, asking to be accepted as a contemplative and spend the rest of his life in the monastery.

“Your majesty” said Prior Richard, “Do you understand that the pledge here is one of obedience? That will be hard because you have been a king.”

“I understand” said Henry. “The rest of my life I will be obedient to you, as Christ leads you.”

“Then I will tell you what to do”, said Prior Richard. “Go back to your throne and serve faithfully in the place where God has put you.”

When King Henry died, a statement was written: “The king learned to rule by being obedient.”

Source: told in Leadership Magazine, Fall 1985.

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