Luke 22:27
“For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.”

With so much material on servant leadership in recent years, I’m amazed that so many gifted and talented leaders still adapt a positional minded style of leadership. Which speaks to the point Jesus was making in the above passage. His remarks were prompted by a dispute which had broken out between the disciples.

His disciples were arguing about of all things, which of them would be considered the greatest! They were positional minded leaders for sure. Jesus tells them “you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.” (Luke 22:26) This turns the world’s organizational charts upside down!

I’m reminded of the humorous dog walking story as told by a comedian. It went something like this; Some extraterrestrials came to earth to observe earthlings in their natural habitat during their daily routines. Watching as they did for a time; they noted that the four legged creatures were daily leading the way. Following behind them were two legged creature carrying bags of waste which came from the four legged creatures they were tethered to. Who would the extraterrestrials say the leaders were?

When it comes to greatness, the values of the Kingdom of God are different from those of this world. Imagine that, the governor of the nations, the Lord of Life, who will ultimately return to judge the living and the dead, God in human form upon the earth – served people! That’s a paradigm shift of biblical proportions! – Yeah, I know…

Positional led leadership

Powered by rank and authority, people follow because they have to, so they will do no more than they have to. Thoughts of position, power, fame and money, the need to be in control, uses people instead of developing and empowering them. Positional leadership is usually driven by insecurity, Pride is behind the need to be in control and recognized as such.  Proverbs 18:12 says “Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.”

Love led leadership

Love driven leaders are powered by humility and service to others. When Perfect Love walked the earth for three and a half years, his model of leadership was something so far removed from human thinking, that it would require grace and a new kingdom mindset to live it. Think of it, The High and lofty One who inhabits eternity, who created the heavens and the earth, the One who holds all things in His hands, came to earth and washed feet. Love driven leaders lead by the golden rule, treating others as they want to be treated themselves.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 

Knowing that God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness, and that all genuine leadership begins with humility, I leave you with a list of Kingdom leadership attributes.

The Servant Leadership style of Jesus

  • He came as a servant
  • He did not Lord It over Others
  • He Lead by Example
  • He was completely Humble
  • As A Child
  • As the Younger
  • As the Least
  • Made himself Last
  • Used No Force on Us
  • Was Not Driven by Selfish Ambition
  • Made Himself of No Reputation
  • Was Fully Human
  • Obedient Unto Death

End Notes

1 Taken from “Our Contact with God” The Nature of Jesus – Gayle Erwin Servants Quarters  http://www.servant.org/