Saturday, August 04, 2007

Observations on Servant Leadership from the Bible

I am wrapping up my second read-through of the Bible (NIV) and each time different things stand out to me. This time I noticed several mentions of servant leadership that I bookmarked and would like to share with you.

Servant leadership has almost become a passion for me because for years I was more of a self-serving leader. I enjoy serving other people but I must say that most of the leaders that I knew - ones who were very successful - were more top-down, authoritarian leaders who were quite self-serving.

The Bible gives us ample insights into the life of many leaders. The first servant leader I noted in my read-through is Moses:

Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth. Numbers 12:3 NIV

The irony of this is that a few chapters later Korah (who led a rebellion against Moses' leadership) accused Moses and Aaron of being self-serving:

Why do you set yourselves above the Lord's assembly? Numbers 16:3 NIV

The fact is that God chose Moses and Aaron, and God had to do some convincing to get Moses to agree to lead Israel. You see, servant leaders often do not see themselves as some kind of great leader and they typically shun publicity. Here we see Moses being attacked simply because he said yes to God (reluctantly) and was serving God's people.

Another passage I noticed was in 2 Samuel 7:18-21 where God tells David that his son would build the temple. His response was typical of a servant leader:

7:18 King David went in, sat before the Lord, and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family, that you should have brought me to this point? 7:19 And you didn’t stop there, O Lord God! You have also spoken about the future of your servant’s family. Is this your usual way of dealing with men, O Lord God? 7:20 What more can David say to you? You have given your servant special recognition, O Lord God! 7:21 For the sake of your promise and according to your purpose you have done this great thing in order to reveal it to your servant. 2 Samuel 7:18-21 NET

Did you see how many times David referred to himself as a servant? KING David! He was truly a servant and his reaction to God speaks to this. A self-serving leader would have called a meeting, sent a memo out, and demanded to be treated with respect, even citing past accomplishments or levels of education. Not King David.

Finally, this morning as I was reading I noticed in 3 John 9 this morning and unfortunately it is in the negative. John the apostle writes:

I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us. 3 John 9 NIV

Self-serving leaders love to have their names in lights and desire position and prominence. John goes on to say that he will call attention to this fact and warns the believers about him.

I don't know about you, but I want to lead like Jesus who was the ultimate servant leader. Tye out.

Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant.... Philippians 2:6-7 NIV

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent blogging. Joe Meyer