And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. Mark 10:44-45
In our 21st century, the world is beginning to realign with the biblical qualifications of who a true leader is. There is an increased awareness that true leadership is ‘servanthood,’ and we now hear terms like servant-leadership. Many today, are like James and John – they like to be preferred. For such ones, the definition of leadership is about positions and a place to ‘sit;’ it is about lording it over others and about exercising authority/dominion.
However, Jesus puts things straight with them when He said, “The one who desires to be first must be slave of all.” If God cannot command you, you cannot command other people. If you cannot submit to authority, you are not fit to have authority. By aspiring to ‘lord’ it over people, you are not fit to lead people; your motive is wrong, you will become a tyrant.
The true measure of leadership is servanthood; and here are some qualities of a servant:
- They Serve God – seeking the glory of God in all they do. They serve not for recognition or remuneration, and they do not have a hireling spirit. God is their ultimate focus.
- They Put Others Before Themselves – They don’t mind being second; they just want others to succeed. They are team-oriented not self-oriented.
- They Are Listeners – A servant leader must have his ears open to God and must also be able to listen to those he leads. He must not consider their opinions as inferior to his.
- They Are Faithful – They are dependable. You can give them work to do and go to sleep. They hold themselves accountable to God and to the highest standards and ideals. Luke 16:10 shows that, “Whoever can be trusted with little things can also be trusted with BIG things.”
Servanthood can both be ‘upward’ or ‘downward.’ True leadership and true greatness is found in giving yourself in service to others, not in cajoling others to serve you. As leaders, we must aim to put more into life than we take out of it.
I end with this thought I once heard from Mensah Otabil – “If you are too big to do little things, then you are too little to be trusted with big things.”
Luke 22:27 & Philippians 2:3-11
Reflect on the qualities listed above:
+ Who do you currently serve, and are you faithful in serving them – a boss, customers, spiritual leader, students, colleagues, teammates, etc.?
+ Are there areas you need to make adjustments, considering servant-leadership?
+ Pray and ask God for grace in those areas.