This weekend was our annual men’s retreat. What a great weekend! One of the messages was about being “servant/leader” in the likeness of Christ, the ultimate leader (King of kinds, Lord of lords) who came to serve and spend time with the least of these - those on the margins of society.
During the message, our speaker mentioned that when doing a Google search for the word “servant,” Google autofills the word “leader.” In other words, Google assumes you are searching for “servant leader,” for no one would simply search for the word “servant.”
During the discussion time, one of the men noted this as being a strange thing. As he stated, it’s as if no one wants to be a servant unless they can also be a leader! Isn’t this true in our culture? Corporations preach the concept of servant leadership consistently these days. Again, the message seems to be that those in leadership ought to have a servant’s heart so long as the serving produces a desired outcome of increased productivity and job satisfaction. Not necessarily a bad thing, but is this the biblical model of servitude?
Which leads me to ask, what are we teaching in our churches? We talk servant leadership quite a bit these days, and appropriately so, as Jesus himself modeled servant leadership. But do we preach and teach servitude without the leadership piece? It’s the question of whether someone can truly serve and give of their time, talent, and treasure without expecting something in return. Are there any truly altruistic acts?
I believe there are, but only when we have the same attitude of mind Christ had, as Paul describes and begs us to adopt in Philippians 2. Though we find ourselves in positions of power and privilege, of prestige and importance, we are not to use it to our own advantage. Rather, Philippians 2 shows us that Jesus was exalted by God only because he exhibited humility, obedience, and servitude on earth. This is God's economy: the humble are exalted, the meek are rewarded, the peacemakers inherit the kingdom. I'll leave you to wrestle/reflect on Paul's words:
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be
used to his own advantage;rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.