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Posted by Lisa Bee

Who comes to mind when you think of the word “leader”?  People with higher salaries and assistants and more authority and influence than you?  Power suits who fly first-class?  People who are respected and who are listened to?  People other than you?

Check out the examples that Jesus gave us: 

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.  I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  John 13: 14-16

The greatest among you will be your servant.  For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.  Matthew 23: 11-12

It’s easy to slip into a place of comfort as students and think we're above serving, or to think that someone else will get it done.  We think we don't have enough time or money to do the things we picture ourselves doing to serve others in Jesus' name.  During those times, God has a way of reminding me through others that serving is the most powerful way to lead—I’ll see my senior pastor being the last one to leave after a long event, a worship leader helping with tear-down, or a volunteer sitting and praying with someone.  These are true acts of humble leadership, motivated out of a desire to help others and love genuinely. 

In God’s economy, leadership and servanthood are synonymous.  People who are power-hungry and authority-obsessed might think twice about becoming God’s definition of a leader, because it wouldn’t sound too exciting to them, would it?  It might mean serving when it’s not fun or convenient.  It might mean sacrificing something precious to you, like your reputation or time.  It might mean doing something menial and “beneath” you, like picking up trash or staying late to stack chairs, or…washing other people’s filthy, smelly feet.  Jesus set the example of how to lead…by serving.  And the leader that he is calling us to be will require things of us.

When you help someone out, don't think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.  Matthew 6: 3-4

So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover's life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.  –Philippians 2: 1-11.

Servant leadership isn’t restricted to interns or volunteers, part-time or full-time staff, secretaries or senior pastors.  It's not limited by our age, or resources.  It's only limited by our reluctance, our pride, our doubt.  Regardless of where we are, what position or title we have, we need to choose to have an “others first” mentality and value others above ourselves; it is with this attitude that we can serve humbly, without seeking reward or recognition, and “make Jesus Christ attractive to all.” 

God, help us serve in a way that others might experience your heart.  Not to us, but to Your name be the glory…


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