Friday, February 13, 2015

Servant Leadership

I was brought up in the church. It was never a question of, "will we be involved?" it was a question of, "what is there for us to do?" I didn't understand then how my parents were teaching me a very biblical example of leadership. As a young adult I continued to serve in the church in one capacity or another. I would play music, help set up tables for a dinner, get involved in VBS, and so on. I did it because it was how I was raised - serving was who we were.
The past few years God has taken me on a journey of seeing what true biblical leadership looks like. Jesus was the perfect example in every way, and leadership is no exception.  He showed us that leadership beyond words you say and what title you have. Leadership is anchored in being a servant to all. 
The best way I can share this is from a passage found in John 13. We find Jesus nearing the end of His life here on earth. As John writes, "Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father." (John 13:1). Jesus knew He was approaching the cross to be the ultimate servant of the world. In this moment, this time known as the Last Supper, we see Jesus teach true leadership. 
"He (Jesus) laid aside His outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around His waist. Then He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around Him." -John 13:4-5
1. Jesus laid aside His outer garment: In order to lead we have to become genuine with people.  Lay aside your title and be real with people.  Find out who they are, where they've been, and what they need. Jesus didn't wait for others to serve Him, He served them first. He made himself vulnerable to serve others. Jesus' leadership wasn't about the shiniest name tag, the loudest voice, or having others serve His needs. His leadership was about serving everyone around Him.
2. Jesus took a towel and tied it around His waist: It's not enough to lay aside titles, images, and status to lead others. We have to take something new on; we have to place the title of servant on ourselves. Jesus didn't just lay aside something, He intentionally placed something else on and allowed Himself to be identified with it. 
Leadership is about taking on the title of servant. If you can serve others you already are leading others. In your home, with your wife, with you husband, with your children, are you willing to serve?  How about co-workers? Neighbors? Can you lay aside the title, the position, the attitude to best serve others?
Leadership is not spelled "my way or the highway" but, rather,  "how can I serve you?" 

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