You might think that you’re in leadership at your church because of your amazing outgoing personality, your degree, you worked hard, you were in the right place at the right time, or you knew the right people. All of that is true to some extent since we know we serve a sovereign God who created us on purpose, with a purpose, and directs our every step. It is crucial to your effectiveness as a leader to realize the position you hold was a gift to you, from God and God alone.
James 1:17 “Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.”
Understanding that your position is a gift will help keep you humble and surrendered to the call God has placed on your life. It is vital to remember that no matter how long you have been in a position of leadership, you are a servant of the most High God. You were given the position, first because you love God and second, He found you faithful in your service toward Him. Now He commands you to love and serve His people.
I have great adoration for the words written red that Jesus spoke. I always sit a little straighter, pay closer attention and quietly ask Him, what are you saying Lord, and what am I to learn from your words? So with that heart let’s dive into the scripture. Jesus gave us so many examples in scripture of what it means to be a servant that there are too many to list here, but I would like to touch on a few.
In Matthew 20:20-27 the mother of the sons of Zebedee made a request to Jesus, asking if her sons could sit at his left and His right, in His kingdom. As a mom myself, her request always makes me laugh. There is a whole teaching on this concerning moms and their children but let’s stick to the topic of servanthood. The account goes on to say that Jesus told her “you do not know what you are asking, are they able to suffer what I will suffer?” He was fully aware of what lay ahead for Him. Then He told her “that request was not His to grant but for those for whom it has been prepared for by my Father.” When the other ten apostles heard it, the Bible states they were indignant. Otherwise translated furious, jealous, offended, and resentful. I’m sure, in part, because they didn’t think of it. There’s nothing new under the sun here folks. Still today in the church we are jockeying for position, hoping to be noticed, secretly jealous when others advance or seem to have a bigger ministry.
Jesus takes advantage of this teachable moment to lovingly instruct His disciples. He tells them listen, unbelievers lord it over their servants by making sure they know their place. Basically He’s saying their prideful, self centered, demanding, oppressive and ungrateful. He says “Let it not be so with you!” I’ve been showing you what it looks like to operate in my kingdom principles, especially as a leader and someone who represents me to the world. In verse 26-27 He says, “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave….”
The church has placed you in a leadership role that oversees a certain group of people in order to humbly accomplish a ministry task together, no one role is more important than the other. God has hand selected and placed certain people on your team, for your good, the good of others, and ultimately His glory. Your team members are not there to serve you. Individually that should be their heart attitude, but ultimately as a leader you are to serve them. We are to draw God’s best out of people by helping them to function in their God given gifts and the purpose for which they were created. This is achieved through discipling, equipping and encouraging them in their walk with God as well as accomplishing the task at hand.
Another teachable moment was when Jesus washed the disciples feet. John 13: 12-17 “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
All of the disciples knew that Jesus was performing the duty that was assigned to the lowest servant in the house. I love Peter’s response when he told Jesus “you shall NEVER wash my feet” and Jesus replied to him by saying “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me”. He is instructing them, through His example that we are all equal in the eyes of God. If we are serving God with a humble heart and using the gifts He has given us than no job is to big or to small for us to undertake. What matters is our servant attitude in completing the task at hand. Everyone is valuable in this kingdom work and whether they hold a position in the church or not is irrelevant.
Jesus’ ultimate earthly example of a servant was His complete surrender to the will of the Father.
In Matthew 20:28 Jesus says…“just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” He paid the price for our sins as He sacrificed His life on the cross and made a way for us to be reunited with the Father. He served God by submitting to God’s will for His life and thus fulfilled the purpose for which He came to earth.
The example that always blows my mind is found in the story of the wedding feast. Jesus is telling us to be about the fathers business and to be ready for His return. He goes on to say in Luke 12:37 “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, He (Jesus) will dress Himself for service and have them (us) recline at the table, and He will come and serve them.” In Jewish weddings, the bride was treated like a queen and the groom like a king, so it was hard for them to grasp that the King would actually serve them, at the banquet. Here Jesus is telling us that He will minister to His faithful servants when He greets us at His return and He will reward us for our faithfulness in what He has called each of us to do. There is not one fiber of my natural man that feels comfortable with Jesus serving me upon His return but I am reminded of His words to Peter “Unless I do this, you have no part with me.”
Hear my heart when I say I am not perfect in this area. I thank God for His grace and hopefully, I have learned from my past mistakes. Daily I appeal to the Holy Spirit to guard my tongue and teach my heart to submit to His promptings as well as the words of Jesus so that I love and serve people well.
The Bible is clear that with leadership comes great responsibility. Luke 12:48 says “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” As a leader you will be held to a higher standard by God and one day give an account as to how you served, loved, and discipled the people He has placed on your team and in your path. It is important that our hearts remain humble, teachable and surrendered to God’s instructions and will for our life. In doing so we will help our people to recognize their God given gifts, live to their fullest potential and walk out the purpose for which God created them, thus fulfilling their destiny! When we function in this manner we reveal to the world around us a glimpse into the character of Jesus and our servant attitudes will display the love of our Savior and the will of our Father.
We all have blind spots, flaws in our character that we do not see. Go to God in prayer and ask Him to reveal to you through the power of His Holy Spirit, areas in the way you lead that are not pleasing to Him. Ask Him to break those habits in you and teach you what it means to be a humble servant so that you can love, serve and lead people well.
If you need prayer today or a safe place to share your struggles, I would be honored to join hands and hearts with you as we seek the Lord together. Respond in the comment section or contact me through social media or via e-mail. God bless you as you bless others.