Tuesday: Servant Leadership

Read 1 Peter 5:3 and Matthew 20:24-28. What crucial principles of Christian leadership are found in these texts?

In Greek, the key word in 1 Peter 5:3 is katakurieuontes. The same word also is found in Matthew 20:25 and means to “exercise dominion” or to “lord it” over someone. Thus, the instruction to elders given in 1 Peter 5:3 might be translated, “Do not lord it over those in your charge” (NRSV), and reflects the words of Jesus in Matthew 20:25.

Christ Washing Feet

Christ’s Example Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

Matthew 20:20-23 provides the context for the sayings of Jesus in Matthew 20:24-28. The mother of James and John had approached Jesus with the request that, when Jesus came into His kingdom, one son should sit at His right side and the other at His left.

“Jesus bears tenderly with them, not rebuking their selfishness in seeking preference above their brethren. He reads their hearts, He knows the depth of their attachment to Him. Their love is not a mere human affection; though defiled by the earthliness of its human channel, it is an outflowing from the fountain of His own redeeming love. He will not rebuke, but deepen and purify.” – Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 548.

Jesus explains that this position of honor is one that is granted by the Father, not Him. But then He goes on to explain that a key difference between His kingdom and those of the Gentile nations is the type of leader that will emerge in His kingdom. Those who wish to lead in the kingdom where Jesus is King must become servants because the leaders in Jesus’ kingdom will be like Jesus. “‘The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many’” (Matt. 20:28, NRSV).

Thus, Peter is calling church leaders to the same ideal: the surrender and self-denial seen in Jesus must be revealed in them, as well.

Read Philippians 2:4-8. How does what Paul says here coincide with what Peter wrote? More important, how can we do the things that we are called to in these verses?


Tuesday: Servant Leadership — 6 Comments

  1. Christianity should be a practical religion. You can talk about heaven and the nature of God, the relationship of faith and works, righteousness, the sanctuary service, and all the other ideas and doctrines that we have, but unless we understand the notion of service, all the rest is just hot air. If we want to communicate the Gospel we need to understand that service to others is the language that is best understood.

    When I think of the church leaders who made an impact on my life, I think of people like the following:

    1) The church elder who knew I was a College student and who gave me a job painting the Church hall. He paid my wages out of his own pocket.

    2) The church pastor who encouraged me as a young person to pursue my interest in photography, teaching me how to use a darkroom to create prints.

    3) The Sabbath School teacher who made sure that Sabbath School was interesting for a bunch of hyperactive farm kids. We had some great discussions about tractors, and somehow they always related to the lesson.

    4) The Christian Physics Lecturer who would start of great discussions with "Have any of you guys considered ...", and we would have this great discussion than linked time-space continuum ideas with heaven, creation, and the nature of the universe.

    5) My parents who lived Christianity in ways that showed how important it was to them and how much they loved me.

    6) And so on.

    So many people - just living their Christianity. I do not have a clue what they thought about the prelapsian/postlapsian problem. I don't think some of them ever talked to be about the Godhead. There were a whole host of doctrines and Christian issues that were never mentioned. I just know that I was loved, encouraged, disciplined when necessary, and listened to.

    They are the sort of people that I want as leaders. And I hope that on those occasions when I have been chosen to lead, that I have been all those things to people I have been leading.

  2. Even in modern administration techniques some do apply part of these principle, "serve to be served"... Some say that a good leader is one who can demonstrate how things must be done first... as being an example!
    But Christ goes much further! In the christian hierarchical structure a leader has such a love for what he does and for his staff that he can even die for them. In the Kingdom of God, responsability takes more of self away, while Christ is the one to shine in the character!

  3. As a leader,you have to humble yourself and God Himself will lift you up.God only alone is a supreme being.God Bless you all.

  4. Maurice,
    I agree with you. Most of us Christians are good at quoting Scripture, which is good, but not implementing what we read. More of theoretical advice we give than practical to the needy/suffering. All through out His life on earth, (Christ) was that of service to humanity. This should be our mind as well.
    We are to live by examples. Our practical lives are more than a sermon. Live out what you advocate for. Paul gives us a counsel in 2Corth. 3:1-3 Let our lives preach the gospel of Christ.

  5. The question is how many leaders want to be like jesus. He came to serve and not to be served.

  6. Truth is one can never be like someone he/she knows very little about.Relationship is the key word here. Relationship grows as u spend time with someone. For one to be like Jesus,one has to spend a lot of time with him. This means,to have a mind like Jesus, one needs to spend good time with the same Jesus. Characteristcs of the one you spend time with will in-turn begin to show in You. In the end, they will serve and not want to be served.


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