He was under the persecution of Roman emperor Domitian. They banished him to the Island of Patmos (Greece), a common punishment during the imperial era. When boiling oil could not touch John, every attendee in the Colosseum accepted John’s message.
When I visited Kos Island, I was informed that Patmos was five hours away with a ferry, and Kos itself about an hour from Thessaloniki. John wrote the Revelation: revealing and totally ecclesiastical with stars, horns, trumpets and kingdoms.
From Rome, John has been sent to Patmos to be forgotten. The emperor did not want to risk another loss of subjects; he could not predict the next miracle. But it was in that Patmos that John did his most important work: writing the Revelation. In the Scripture Union in secondary school, I have called it the Book of the Future.
It happens in some companies: the most brilliant staff members have strong visions. Many people are threatened. So, to stop them, they would conspire to send them to far away branches where they would be forgotten.
Interestingly, like John, those great workers, right in those branches would see great revelations of the companies. Yes, from the branches, they would understand the companies better. That is it – in the wilderness of those far away branches, we can see a future, unbounded by the noise of the headquarters. Like John who saw a big vision of the future more than anyone, we can do great things for where we work or in our sector. John who later served as Bishop of Edessa (Turkey) triumphed: the banishment promoted him to see a bigger world than Rome, and wrote the Revelation.
Going to “Patmos” could be necessary in a globalizing world. When they send you out, do not be troubled. Your revelation to career ascension may come from it. Yes, when Patmos comes, it could be the path to the mountaintop.
The core lesson here is the responsibility to continue to work harder even when sent to that branch, and find a vehicle to ensure your work is visible. John was writing even in Patmos when there was none to preach; he adapted his playbook to account for his environment.
For you, even in that branch, you could still be producing strategy documents, sharing with colleagues. That you are warehoused in a rural branch should not stop that thought-leadership in this internet era. When I was in a Lagos Bank, there was a manager in the Makurdi branch. Everyone knew he was brilliant with his reports on business.
The key is this: there is no excuse whether in a village, branch or HQ to find a mechanism to make your talent continue to shine. They took out John’s voice, but he pivoted to his hands. You need to adapt when sent to that branch or rural area.
Yes, one thing is evident: being sent as part of future leadership preparation is different from “banishment”