Leading as servants as Jesus did…
Follow Jesus’ story in the Gospels and see how He poured himself out day by day. He gave Himself to the disciples and the crowds. When confronted with human needs, He did not walk away. He comforted those overwhelmed with sorrow. He ministered to children, imparting His blessing into their lives. We read for example in “Matthew 15: 29 Jesus departed from there, skirted the Sea of Galilee, and went up on the mountain and sat down there. 30 Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them. 31 So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.” During His entire ministry for 3½ years, Jesus served the masses. He healed, He delivered, He preached and He taught the Word of God until He was crucified!
Wherever Jesus went, He proclaimed the good news, bringing hope, speaking the word of life. Even on the cross, He provided for the care of his mother. And yes, speaking about the cross that was the ultimate act of serving! It says in “John 3:16: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Glory to God. Jesus gave His all so that we may live! For leaders serving Christ, they must be willing to give their all to the glory of God, no matter the cost.
Ultimately in His serving, Jesus led us to the Father. This is the very nature of God – to serve – and therefore this should be our nature as well. Jesus served the will of the Father, and so He said in “John 17: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He [a]should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” Of the Holy Spirit we read in “John 16: 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.” Yes, even the Holy Spirit acts as a servant, not in a negative way, because in serving we unlock great power!
John 3:30 says “He must increase, but I must decrease.” The key to unlocking great leadership is humility, as demonstrated by Jesus. It is that simple. Because in humility one begins to focus on others, and their needs, their strengths, and weaknesses. If one is so full of oneself and so full of pride and ego, you become blind to those around you. And humility is certainly not about weakness, but it is about serving and willing to help others. Proverbs 16:18 says “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” If we want to truly make a difference in the Kingdom of God by being true and faithful leaders, we must be careful of pride but rather seek the path of humility and integrity.
Pride after all has brought many ministries, ministers, and leaders to a fall. Pride causes selfish agendas and motivations. It leads to spiritual abuse and manipulation. It leads to the exaltation of the self and seeking a path of self-glorification. There is no benefit to hold onto pride or haughtiness in the Body of Christ. We need to seek the path of God’s purpose and will, willing to sacrifice all for the Kingdom and in the process to help others.
Jesus demonstrated humility in John 13 where we read “3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6 Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?” 7 Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” 8 Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” 9 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.” 12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”
Jesus demonstrated that as a leader one must be willing to serve by washing the feet of His disciples. The disciples were of course astounded at this act of kindness, and some may have seen it as being degrading and of weakness. Jesus said that “a servant is not greater than his master.” Still today there is this misconception in the church that the clergy and laity system exists, where those in full-time ministry or those standing in the ascended gifts or offices of Ephesians 4 are ‘special’ and of higher stature in the church. This is a terrible point of view. All of us in the church are of equal standing and equal worth when we serve God, for there is only one who deserves all the praise and honor – Jesus. We are called to minister the Word of God. We are all called to be active to proclaim the Good News. Serving is really about looking at the needs of others and taking into consideration such needs. We are all disciples who were once lost. Our mandates and callings are determined by God and not by man or ourselves.
Also take note when Jesus said in verse “17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” So yes, blessed are those who serve, who show meekness and kindness. In the Beatitudes of Matthew 5, the Lord said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Blessed indeed are those who have the heart of the Lord and who seeks the way of Jesus, thus the way of love and forgiveness and kindness above all else! May this be the heart of all leaders in the Church.
Let us look at another story out of “Mark 10: 35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.” 36 And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 37 They said to Him, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.” 38 But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” 39 They said to Him, “We are able.” So Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized; 40 but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared.” 41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be greatly displeased with James and John. 42 But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. 44 And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all.”
In the above Scripture, take note of verses 43 to 45. If we truly want to make a great impact in the Kingdom of God, we must be willing to serve. James and John wanted to walk the path of pride and considered their needs above all else. They were so concerned about their welfare and reputation that Jesus needed to remind them of the importance of humility and serving. This was also demonstrated by the Apostle Paul when he said in “1 Corinthians 9: 19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.” Again, we are reminded of what Jesus said in “John 13: 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” Let us then lead as Jesus led and as God still leads through the Holy Spirit!