2012-07-26 - Leaders Serve
Luke 22:25-27 And He said to them, The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called Benefactors. 26 But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant. 27 For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves. (NASB)
Our culture has a lot of things backwards. People in government forget that they are public servants. Our heroes are pop music stars and sports figures. Teachers of all sorts who provide the education for the next generation, that instruct professionals in new technology and jobs, etc. are very rarely seen on the public stage when awards are presented. Taking nothing away from the hard work that those in government, music, sports and other fields put in to their jobs for those who strive for levels of excellence, the difference makers in people's lives are often parents, mentors and teachers quietly doing what needs to be done for others.
I read an article today that enumerated a list of traits of great leaders. There were many good points, but one caught my eye. A great leader is a great follower. This is counter-intuitive to our culture. Everyone is accountable to someone - children to their parents, corporate Presidents to CEOs and shareholders, CEOs to their spouses. It works in reverse as well, but that is for another time. Jesus the Messiah is part of the Trinity - God from God, Light from Light, the Source of Truth full of mercy and grace. He was there at the creation where everything in the universe we live in came to be with a word. In John 13 Jesus kneels naked in front of his disciples and washes their dirty feet to emphasize His servanthood. He would later serve one who came to arrest Him by healing the ear that Peter removed with a sword. At Jesus hand the unclean leaper was healed - sickness, paralysis, and even death were overcome at a word or a touch. With word of command the Sea of Galilee stirred by a raging storm became calm and smooth in an instant to save the disciples from capsizing and drowning.
Jesus is speaking to his disciples who are arguing about who among them is the greatest and turns their focus on its head explaining the greatest would be the servant of the others. When the rich young ruler was challenged to give up his wealth and follow the Lord, that young man found unexpected instruction. Jesus' service to the young man was the truth that hopefully was followed at a later date.
The Lord came with His glory wrapped in human flesh as a baby. He left the splendor of Heaven knowing the cross was His goal - in order to save His creation that was anything but worthy. Out of love He came to do what needed to be done. He taught and mentored by example in everything He did. He brought the good news that God the Father loves us and had prepared a way for us to be freed from sin and death. And then, when he could have walked away from the horror of crucifixion, the Lord of Lords allowed His creation to drive spikes through His hands and feet in an ultimate act of service - to die in our place so that the penalty for our sins would be paid. Then three days later He rose to crush the power of death for us.
Everyone in my life who has been a great leader had my best interests at heart. Some had companies to run but had time to mentor their employees knowing that everyone including himself would benefit. Others had many classes to teach but always had time for questions and encouragement. The list is not long, but those people are treasured in my memory. Jesus removes the scales from our eyes so we can see our need and the path He has for us. Sometimes that path is one step relieved at a time. He teaches in His word, in our circumstances, in those He brings into our lives. He guides and directs, forgives when we stumble and fall, and wants to present us to the Father pure and spotless.
Rom 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (NASB)
Grace & Peace,