Servant Leadership   Leave a comment

Servant Leadership

But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mat. 20:26

  1.  Different from conventional leadership

Jesus taught that Christian leadership is servanthood which is clearly opposed to the world’s concept of being the “Boss”, “Director”, “Captain” or someone having authority over others. Most if not all types of leadership (dictatorial leadership, strategic,charismatic etc) have a man or a group of people at the head having authority. The professional world does not know such thing as an inversed pyramidal way of leading. How can a slave be a leader ?

The word “deacon” used by Paul in 1 Timothy refers to servant or slave. Adam Clarke described it as “The office of a deacon, in the primitive Church, was to serve in the agapae, or love feasts, to distribute the bread and wine to the communicants; to proclaim different parts and times of worship in the churches; and to take care of the widows, orphans, prisoners, and sick, who were provided for out of the revenues of the Church

This definition implies that such a person does not exercise authority on the Lord’s flock, he serves humbly and is concerned for the weak. This type of leadership position is not limited and does not cease to be when you leave position at church or at work. This leadership is really about your character and who you are.

Paul himself described himself as a slave of Christ. (Rom 1:1)

I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ“(1 Cor 9:19)

2. It’s not about what you have but about who you want to be

It’s not your intelligence or experience that makes you the type of spiritual leader Jesus is talking about. Jesus said that it is a personal decision to serve others. If you really want to be great in the sight of God, then serve.

Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave

Paul mentioned no physical,financial or intellectual qualifications to be this kind of leader. The qualities that Paul mentioned had to do with conduct at home, at church and especially with non followers of Jesus(1 Tim. 3:7).

3. This kind of leadership is sacrificing self for others

A great leader in the world is measured by his financial results, physical performance, political decision or intellectual abilities. Though Jesus was the utmost authority on earth, He came to serve humanity by pouring out His life for their salvation. Paul said:

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Rom. 5:6

Jesus gave an example to his disciples to follow when He washed their feet. Great leaders in the eyes of God are experts in feet cleansing(not theirs of course).

now he loved them to the very endAnd since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. ” John 13:1-14

4. This leadership seeks no reward and is rooted in humility

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God,he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges,he took the humble position of a slave” Phil. 2:3

This kind of leadership is not motivated in getting something from others but in giving to others. Jesus said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” Acts 20:35

Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” Luke 6:35

It does not have to prove something to be recognized.

There is no need to do self-appraisal or show your senior what you did in order to get a promotion. Your CV is written by God not by you.

5. This leadership draws its strength from love

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

How to know if you’re a servant who pleases God?

Ask yourself these questions:

Are you patient and kind with your family? Are you serving them?

Are you jealous, boastful, proud and rude with your colleagues or are you gentle, helpful and pushing them towards success? Are you serving them?

Do you easily get angered and have an unforgiving heart with your neighbor? Are you serving them?

Do you persevere in serving others despite no recognition and being hurt by them?

Servant leadership is imitating Christ’s example of serving others.

Paul said: “My old self has been crucified with Christ.It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. ” Gal 2:20

6. It is a Master and slave relationship

Paul made himself a servant of all and was an instrument in the Master’s hand to pour out His love on people. If we call Christ Master then it follows that we consider ourselves slaves.

A slave does not seek for his right but obeys His Master. There’re no menial tasks but all are duties. They do not have working hours, they are readily available any time. They do not live in luxury but are satisfied with what they have. Slaves have no reasons to seek for glory.

In the same way, when you obey me you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.”Luke 17:18.

Finally, successful spiritual leadership is not through strategy but through the influence of the Holy Spirit. Without submission to the Holy Spirit, we will not bear the fruit of the Spirit and our leadership will be carnal.

Imagine how the workplace would have been if the boss had an attitude of servanthood towards employees, how our country would have been if the political leader had a servant attitude towards citizens, how a classroom would have been if the teacher had an attitude of service towards students or how the family would have been if the father/husband served his wife and children. If those in authority exercised servanthood, it would have brought less harm, more peace and love.

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted August 5, 2017 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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