Tag Archives: servant leadership

Humble Leadership

I’ve seen a few different types of leaders. One type of leader is too good to do anything. They’ve risen through the ranks and paid their dues, so they feel there are certain things they shouldn’t have to do any more. Another leader feels that no matter how high up the totem pole they get, there is no job beneath them. They feel like it’s their duty to know the way, show the way and go the way. If they’re going to ask someone to do something, they should be willing to do it as well.

We read in the Bible where the disciples argued over who was the greatest. What they were asking was, “Besides Jesus, who’s the leader of this group?” Jesus didn’t get onto them for asking the question. He simply stated God’s idea of what leadership is in His Kingdom. You can be a leader and be humble at the same time. Humility is not saying others are better than you, it’s saying that nothing is beneath you. If you want to be a great leader, especially in God’s Kingdom, then learn to be humble.

Here’s some verses on humble leadership.

1. Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.”

Luke 22:25-26 NLT

2. Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

Philippians 2:5-8 MSG

3. So when He had washed their feet and put on His [outer] robe and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you understand what I have done for you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you are right in doing so, for that is who I am. So if I, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet as well. For I gave you [this as] an example, so that you should do [in turn] as I did to you. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him.”

JOHN 13:12-16 AMP

4. In the same way you younger people must submit yourselves to your elders. And all of you must put on the apron of humility, to serve one another; for the scripture says, “God resists the proud, but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time.

1 Peter 5:5-6 GNT

5. God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.

1 Peter 4:10 NLT

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Being A Slave

  
Slave. That word conjures up so many emotions and ugly images in our heads. No one wants to be a slave, nor do they want to be treated like one. Slaves are not allowed to have a will of their own. They must do what they are told without any hesitation. They are owned and controlled by someone else. Slavery affects how you think, how you act, and how you view yourself. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to be a slave.

The New Testament uses the word slave to describe humans. We like to think we are free, but the truth is, we are all slaves. We are either shaves to our human nature or we are slaves to Christ. One holds us down, bound in chains. The other sets us free spiritually because we are no longer bound to our sinful fate. Being a slave of Jesus means that our lives, thoughts, and actions are dominated by a desire to please Him rather than ourselves.

That we are all slaves is a hard concept for us to adopt given our thoughts on slavery. To help us understand better, here are 10 verses in the Bible that deal with us being slaves.

1. So Jesus called them all together and said, “You know that the rulers of the heathen have power over them, and the leaders have complete authority. This, however, is not the way it shall be among you. If one of you wants to be great, you must be the servant of the rest; and if one of you wants to be first, you must be the slave of the others— like the Son of Man, who did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life to redeem many people.”

Matthew 20:25-28 GNT

2. Now a slave does not remain in a household permanently (forever); the son [of the house] does remain forever. So if the Son liberates you [makes you free men], then you are really and unquestionably free.

John 8:35-36 AMP

3. Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims.

1 Corinthians 6:12 MSG

4. I am a free man, nobody’s slave; but I make myself everybody’s slave in order to win as many people as possible.

1 Corinthians 9:19 GNT

5. So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

Galatians 4:7 ESV

6. They brag about themselves with empty, foolish boasting. With an appeal to twisted sexual desires, they lure back into sin those who have barely escaped from a lifestyle of deception. They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you.

2 Peter 2:18-19 NLT

7. Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:] Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained, But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being.

Philippians 2:5-7 AMP

8. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart.

Ephesians 6:6 NLT

9. But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

Romans 6:17-18 ESV

10. You cannot be a slave of two masters; you will hate one and love the other; you will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Matthew 6:24 GNT

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Holiness Over Hygiene 

When I was younger, every once in a while, our church would do a foot washing service. I typically reacted like Peter: You ain’t washing my feet! Number one, I don’t like taking off my socks and shoes in public. Number two, it’s uncomfortable to sit in a chair, in front of everyone, while a leader in the church washes your feet. Even though I understand it a little bit better now than then, it’s still one of those things that makes you want to protest having it done for you.

In John 13, the disciples and Jesus were at the Last Supper. After dinner, Jesus took off His robe and put on an apron. He poured water in a basin and began to wash their feet. When He got to Peter and he protested, Jesus replied, “If I don’t wash you, you can’t be part of what I’m doing” (MSG). Jesus wasn’t just talking about not being a part of the foot washing, He was talking about not being a part of building His Church.

Peter’s reply to Jesus was to not just wash his feet, but to wash his whole body then. I’m sure Jesus and the others chuckled at that. But Jesus’ next words were the crux of what He was trying to do. He said, “My concern, you understand, is holiness, not hygiene.” It’s not about having your feet washed. It’s about being humble enough to serve someone you lead or to allow yourself to be served by someone you respect. Either way, it’s humbling.

Jesus is teaching us that none of us will ever become so great that we will be above doing the most humbling of tasks. Nor are any of us so insignificant that we are below having those we respect serve us in a manner that honors us. On both ends of the spectrum, our pride clashes with humility. Either we have too much pride to humble ourself completely to serve someone else or we have too much pride to let someone we respect humble themselves at our expense. Jesus said if we fall into either of those traps, we will have no part in what He’s trying to do.

I Peter 5:5 says, “Clothe (apron) yourselves, all of you, with humility [as the garb of a servant, so that its covering cannot possibly be stripped from you, with freedom from pride and arrogance] toward one another” (AMP). We are to put on the apron of humility like Jesus did, free ourselves of pride, and serve one another if we are to be a part of building His Church. It’s in the ground of humble servanthood that holiness grows. Pride is a weed in that garden that will choke it out. Get rid of your pride and learn to serve others in humility of you truly want to be like Christ. 

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The Apron Of Humility

  
Several years ago, our area was hit by Hurricane Ike. Our electricity was out for over two weeks. Because of the work I do, I had to go to work anyway to help customers. A couple of days after the storm hit, the CEO of this Fortune 15 company flew down here. Each day, he put aside his tie, put on our uniform, and got behind a computer to help customers at one of our stores. When regular customers didn’t recognize him, they’d ask who he was. When he told them, no one believed him. He had to pull out his business card to prove it. Even then, there were skeptics.

To me, that’s a lot like what Jesus did. When the world was dark and powerless, Jesus left Heaven to come to earth to help us. He put aside His Heavenly body to take on the form of a man. He walked among us to help us. Many did not recognize Him nor believe He was who He said He was. When He proved it by doing things only God could do, they were still skeptical. Even though there were doubters, He continued to do the work that He was sent to do

Philippians 2:5-8 tells us exactly that, “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 and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross” (NLT). What it says first is very important. We should have that same attitude.

We should never be above doing any work in the Kingdom. There is no position high enough or level of spiritualness that you can attain where you don’t have to get down in the trenches and serve like everyone else. Jesus was still exhibiting the qualities of a servant the night He was betrayed to do what He came to do. He made it clear He was the Messiah, the Son of God, and yet He served others. John 13:4 says, “So He got up from the supper table, set aside His robe, and put on an apron” (MSG). He took off the robe that signified His greatness and position, to put on what the lowest ranking person wears in order to serve.

Christianity is not about becoming a great and powerful leader. It’s about becoming an humble servant. It’s following the example of the One who gave up all authority in Heaven and earth to wash the feet of others. It’s about meeting people where they are so they can see what God’s love is like. If the CEO of Heaven took off His robe to put on an apron and serve, we should put aside our pride and follow His example of serving others. Wearing the apron was an outward example of the position of His heart. If you feel you’re above putting on the apron of humility, pray that God would give you the same attitude Christ Jesus had.

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Strength Is For Service

Do you have any friends who are body builders? I do. They work hard at bringing their body under discipline, they exercise, lift weights and eat right too. Imagine if you will, if this person who is ripped walked past someone who was struggling to lift something and said, “I lift things heavier than that at the gym.” Then they walk away. How would you feel about that person? You know and they know they have the strength to help, but didn’t. It would change your opinion about them.

The same is true for those of us who have strength of character. We may be strong in many areas of our lives and not have to worry about certain temptations. Imagine if we saw someone struggling with sin and said, “I don’t struggle with that.” We would look like hypocrites and give the appearance that we don’t care about their struggle. Hopefully you think that would be a shame, but believers do it all the time. We see people struggle with sin and we steer clear of them. That’s against what God’s Word teaches.

Romans 15:1-2 lay it out clearly. It says, “Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, ‘How can I help?‘” (MSG) Part of being a Christian is looking beyond yourself and helping others who are walking down the same path. We can’t just leave them behind or treat them as inferior Christians.

My favorite part of that verse says, “Strength is for service, not status.” God has called you and I to be servants. No matter how close we get to God, no matter how strong of a Christian we think we are, we are to help others by serving them. God is pleased with our ability to be humble enough to help those who struggle rather than to turn our nose up at them. The only status that matters in Heaven is “Servant”. You are never too strong to not bend down and help someone else. God is looking for us to do what’s right even if it’s not convenient. 

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