But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,
(Matthew 20:25-26 NLT)
Jesus taught his disciples that leadership in the Kingdom of God had a whole new set of requirements. There are two types of leaders. One who does it for him or herself, the other who leads to serve others.
Before the Disciples met Christ, the only model they had for leadership were the Pharisees. The Pharisees loved the best seating at the banquets and the front seats at the synagogues (Matthew 23:6). They quite liked the respectful greetings bestowed upon them in the marketplace (Luke 11:43). The Disciples had just been jockeying for leadership positions. They must have been thinking about the day when their movement would gain acceptance, and they would have prestige like the Pharisees. Jesus burst their bubble. Jesus was trying to communicate to them that being a leader was not about what they could get, but what they could give.
Leaders often stand before us, and we think that it would be great to be like him or her. What we do not understand is that for every hour leaders spend publically teaching, directing, or leading, they spend untold hours privately dealing with other peoples’ concerns or problems. Servant leadership is actually a very unselfish task. The needs of those who lead often become subservient to those who serve under them. Sheep are pretty needy animals. Servant leaders seek to give and not just get from their people. In the Kingdom of God, the last will be first and the first last.
Image used with permission by Microsoft.
Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places” YWAM Publishing