Tuesday, September 04, 2007

servant leadership

At Horizon we are often asked, "How do you decide who is a leader?" I came across a passage of scripture that can help us with this question.

Mark 9:33-35
They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, "What were you arguing about on the road?" But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all."

If you want to be considered a leader, you must serve people. You have to lead people well. You should be loving people well.

But what about this conversation about "the greatest?" The disciples were already a part of Jesus' "leadership team." They were already being sent out to spread the message of the kingdom of God two by two. They were already feeding the crowds and learning how to be a disciple of Jesus.

They weren't asking how to be a disciple. They were past wondering about what it means to lead people. What they wanted to know is who would be the greatest disciple. Who would be Jesus right hand man when he took the throne in his kingdom? Who would be considered the greatest of leaders with Jesus? Who would have the most power and the most influence in His kingdom?

The conversation got so heated that they started arguing about it. Each probably shouted their spiritual resume and claimed their own greatness. After their conversation came to an undecided end, Jesus decided to use it as a teaching moment.

If you want to be the greatest disciple, if you want to be the greatest leader, if you want to have power and influence in the Kingdom of God, then you must put yourself last. If you want to be the greatest, you must the the servant of all.

All this to say, if you want to be a leader in our community, then serve people. If you want to be a leader that has influence, if you want to be the greatest leader in our community, then be the servant of all. If someone is eager to be a "leader", then they need to be ready to invest in the lives of others. They need to be willing to do the dirty work that others won't do. They need to be a dependable servant. They have to be willing to give of their time, their money, and their heart.

After all, this is what we were created to do. It is when we are giving of ourself in service to others that we are most ourselves. It is when we are serving God and others that we are living closest to the life we were always meant to be. Any form of selfishness that keeps us from doing this is just keeping us from being our true self.

So when we want our idea to be first, when we want our desires to be first, when we think we should be heard first, this is a passage we must return to time and time again. What we want to be first will only be so if we make ourselves last and servant of all.

3 Comments:

At 8:40 PM, Blogger Rebecca said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 8:42 PM, Blogger Rebecca said...

Aggh, the above didn't work. I'm trying again.

Mark said: “If you want to be the greatest disciple, if you want to be the greatest leader, if you want to have power and influence in the Kingdom of God, then you must put yourself last. If you want to be the greatest, you must [be] the servant of all.

All this to say, if you want to be a leader in our community, then serve people. If you want to be a leader that has influence, if you want to be the greatest leader in our community, then be the servant of all. If someone is eager to be a "leader", then they need to be ready to invest in the lives of others. They need to be willing to do the dirty work that others won't do.”

It’s interesting that the disciples that knew about leadership and the theoretical, heady stuff were the ones least leading others.

I have to admit that during my small ‘bout’ of being a ‘leader’ at horizon, I felt I served people the most in the beginning, but as the heady stuff came, I served less and less. Because then I was thinking about it.

I can relate to these disciples. The innocence, the radical changing of their heart was enough in the beginning to overwhelmingly serve others selflessly.

The more it gets tossed around and thought about, the less that ‘serving others’ thing happens. The less the dirty work happened. The less desirable the dirty work became.

So much time spent on thinking about the action, and not acting.

I hope I’m the only one that fell in that trap.

 
At 9:15 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Rebecca,
Yes, it is an easy trap to fall into. You would think that the more and more Jesus walked the earth, the less he would do the dirty work. He would have people to do the work for him. Yet the night before he was killed, it was he who got down on his knees and washed his disciples feet. Amazing!

And I am learning that God cares more about the heart of the person acting and less about the action itself. No doubt, Jesus calls us to act. He calls us to serve. But a greater concern of Jesus is the attitude and motive from which we serve.

Do we serve bitterly? Do we serve in order to get public praise? Do we serve out of obligation? Or Do we serve because He first served us? Do we serve from a place of joy? Are we honored to serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? Does it please us to serve because we know it pleases the heart of God? These last few should be our heart rather than the first few.

 

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