John 13:13-15 – 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. (NIV)
The famous preacher, Charles Price, wrote:
- We talk a lot about leadership, and rightly so, but our role is never to lead. It is to serve, and God is the one who makes leaders out of servants. If we want to know who our future leaders will be, look to those who do the menial tasks, who commit to the grind — the long hours, short nights, and the discipline of tedious, difficult work. This is where God builds His leaders from.
Recently, I took a book from my bookcase entitled Servant Leadership, a journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. It was published in 1977 by Robert K. Greenleaf, a prominent American business executive. It was given to me in 1982 by the President of Youth for Christ Canada during the time when it was my privilege to be the chairman of the Board of Directors. While the book is written from a commercial aspect, it endeavours to show how true leadership differs from power and authority.
It is interesting to see how the teachings of Jesus continue to be the better way in all aspects of life.
Matthew 16:25 – For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. (NIV)
Some time ago, I had a discussion with the President of Rotary International. He was the founder of a very successful accounting firm, and we were discussing return on investment. The normal hope, when we invest, is that we will receive at least as much back as we put in. But that doesn't always happen. We agreed, however, that when we invest time and money in worthwhile projects to help others, the return always far exceeds the investment.
It is often challenging to work at continuing to be godly servants, but the Bible has many passages with advice as to the kind of character that we need to develop:
Galatians 6:9 – Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (NIV)
2 Timothy 1:7 – For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. (NIV)
Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (NIV)
1 Peter 3:8 – Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. (NIV)
Prayer: Dear Father, we realize that it is so easy to fall into the trap of wanting to be the leader — to be first. Help us to realize that true leaders are servants first. May we always follow the example given to us by Jesus and be willing to wash the feet of others. In His name, we pray. Amen.