Light on the Rock Blogs
BECOMING SERVANT Leaders Like Jesus
(Introductory comment from P Shields: I have been very pleased with the hard work of all the pastors in Kenya. George Owato is the appointed coordinator there. The work he and Francis and others have put into serving the brethren there and helping plan for the coming Feast of Tabernacles is so appreciated. I asked him to write a blog on fulfilling our calling to be Servant Leaders like Christ is, as we prepare for the Kingdom of God. And really, we practice for God’s kingdom by being servant leaders now in this life. So here’s George.)
We know Jesus by so many dozens of titles. But how did he get so many titles? I mean titles like, King of kings, Lord of lords, Master, Teacher, Rabbi, High Priest, Savior, mighty prophet, chief apostle, Chief Shepherd and many more like Lion of Judah, our Rock and our High Tower. However, He lived a humble life and He did not go about broadcasting who He was by always using these titles. Have you ever asked yourself why? Because He was a servant leader. He lived, led and taught His disciples many things – Becoming servant leaders being one of them! Let’s focus on what he said about servant leadership.
Jesus was born to be a King but look at what he taught His disciples:
Mark 10:42-45 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. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
Jesus was appointed by God Most High to be the King of Kings but he never acted like one lording it over others, though we call him “Lord”. Isaiah 9:7 says ““For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders…….of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will perform this” (Isaiah 9:7).
His mother Mary was told her son would be “called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, his kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:31-33).
Jesus clarified when that would happen.
Matthew 25:31 – ““When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.” And yet we don’t see him acting in the way so many leaders today act: lording it over others.
MANY people aspire to be leaders at home, in their communities, in companies, in governmental and non-governmental organizations and, even in the Church BUT very FEW really seek to become leaders like Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Son of the Living God, “Who being in the very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself of nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on the cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:6-11).
Are we beginning to see what kind of leadership God wants for Jesus’ followers to have? May God Most High birth in us the desire to become Servant Leaders like Jesus, for His glory! Becoming Servant Leaders like Jesus MEANS we must totally surrender our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ and embrace His Servant Leadership model. Frankly we need the same mind that was in Christ Jesus for us to become servant Leaders like he was.
“Let this mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). Our attitude needs to be the same as that of Christ Jesus – humbling ourselves and taking on a servant’s nature (Philippians 2:5-9). Read those verses again. It is this mind and attitude of Jesus that will transform us to become servant leaders like Jesus – “who did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
This mind of Jesus- the SERVANT Mindset will enable us fulfill these scriptures: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, in humility consider others better than ourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
This will be possible only if we have the same mindset Jesus has.
Probably very few of us really think that others are better than ourselves. Or think about others’ needs even above our own. So realize that even as we are training to be leaders, it comes by practicing Servant Leadership all the time and everywhere.
Even when Jesus returns, we will find him serving.
Luke 12:37 “Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that He will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them.”
We know Christ laid down his life for us when he died on the cross. But do we also think of him laying down his life in daily acts of loving service and helping others? True service is giving up of our time and our life in a daily way, not just in death. For example, after preaching to the multitudes, our model Leader was moved with compassion and so he served them. He prepared a feast for them, as it was late in the day and they were famished and I’m sure Jesus was tired too. But he served their needs ahead of his, anyway. Even on the cross, his thoughts were on being sure his mother would be well provided for by John – though he was racked with pain.
This mind of Christ is a mind filled with and motivated by love- the agape kind of love God has, that will make us also be willing and ready to lay down our lives for others, any others like Christ did, not just our fellow believers. He died for us while we were still sinners. He died for all the world who would accept him. Are we willing to even serve and die for people who are not being so kind to us? Jesus did. He died while we were yet sinners.
But again, laying down our lives is not limited to literally dying, but also in daily acts of service, giving up our time and our lives for others now. Being a true Servant Leader means we’re putting other’s needs ahead of our own. We help - - even when it is so inconvenient to help. This starts at home. Many are willing to go all out for others, but not for our own spouse or family sometimes.
So in becoming Servant Leaders like Jesus we must have his kind of humility. That’s where it starts. We must humble ourselves just as Christ humbled Himself. There’s so much in scripture about humility.
Here are some examples to ponder: when you do a godly act of kind service, do you have to let others know? Our Messiah actually often told people he had just healed to be quiet about it, and not tell everyone (Matthew 8:1-4). But we tend to let others know of what a good person we are and all about our good deeds. When we do that, we are forfeiting our rewards from God! (Matthew 6:1-5). So Servant Leadership starts with our Lord’s humble mindset in whatever capacity we find ourselves – as dad, a mom, boss, pastor, teacher or coach, older brother or sister.
“…humility comes before honor” (Proverbs 15:33). God will raise up the humble eventually, just as Jesus was elevated and honored tremendously after he humbled himself, as we can read in Philippians 2:8-9
“And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…”
“A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor” (Proverbs 29:23). “Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor” (Proverbs 18:12). “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble…all of you clothe yourself with humility toward one another…..Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1Peter 5:5-6.
So before God elevates any of us, He has to see that we will be wonderful leaders, serving those he’s given us to work with – just like our King would.
Remember it was the very son of GOD who got up and did the job of the lowliest servant or slave: He washed all the others’ feet, including Judas’ feet, at the last Passover. Do we ever feel too important to do lowly work? Can we help quietly weed a widow’s garden if she needs help? When we feel like having more coffee or getting seconds after dinner, do we ask someone else to get it, or do we get up and get it ourselves and even ask the others if they want anything while we’re up? Men, are we willing to help with the housework, cleaning and tidying up – or is that the wife’s job?
Yes, the wife was to be the man’s “helper” or “help-meet”; “ezer” in Hebrew. But did you know that the Hebrew word there is exactly the same word used for our Creator who is also our “ezer”- our helper? Eliezer means “GOD is my help”! So men, husbands –we can be the ones helping our wives as well. Let’s become known as a wonderful helper, a leader who serves anyone and everyone.
We should be servant leaders at work, in church, with our families, everywhere! At church we help set up and take down the chairs. We might serve as ushers or singing in the choir or helping with the P.A. system. Those who serve in those capacities spend countless hours serving the rest of us. We really don’t need to be “serving” in the more prominent positions like preaching or giving Bible studies. God is checking our hearts and minds and examining our thoughts as we do everything we do. Those he sees are real servant leaders now will be the ones he will trust with high positions later. When we’re faithful in little, God knows we’ll be faithful in much.
When we finally have the humble mind and heart of our own Leader Jesus Christ, we won’t even think about or focus on being promoted or lifted up and exalted. It will come, in God’s good time, when and how He determines. Our real concern for now is not trying to be “in charge” – but in trying to serve the best way possible. We’ll be more concerned with the well-being of those we are serving, and not having to demonstrate we’re “in charge”. God can’t and won’t lift us up to be leaders in the Kingdom until we first learn to humble ourselves and be helpers and servants in every way we can – without putting on a big show and letting everyone know about our serving or how we are “in charge” here. We don’t need to be in the pictures of serving that are being shown everyone.
So humility is KEY to becoming Servant Leaders like Jesus. We must be humble, we must clothe ourselves with humility. “For this is what the high and lofty One says – he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite” (Isaiah 57:15).
God, who lives in unbelievable splendor – wants to come live in us too, but only if we are lowly in spirit and humble. He really is not comfortable with prideful people.
“And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
“…the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves” (Luke 22:26).
“Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up” (James 4:10).
Let’s be humble. Let’s have the mind of Jesus as we find ways to serve – ideally behind the scenes, unnoticed by mankind, but every thought and action is seen by God.
In conclusion, it takes humility and the mind of Jesus – the servant leadership mindset/attitude to become Servant Leaders like Jesus. And it’s something we’re doing all the time. Every day.
God willing, we’ll be able to share more ideas in future on this whole topic of being a Servant Leader like Jesus, wherever we are and wherever we go.
This is a very humbling blog. Thanks a lot Philip and George for sharing it. I recommend others to go through it to help them have a big picture in becoming a servant leader.
Br Ondigo Ochieng-Kenya.