Servant Leadership

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Kingdom Living #7

“For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.(Luke 22:27)

Jesus modeled leadership. And he taught the apostles how not to lead. And in their writings they taught leaders in the community of Christ how not to lead.  Leadership is a core element in kingdom living. It is both positive and negative. But more importantly it is ALWAYS connected to the mission of Christ.

Jesus was always very clear about His mission. He came, not to be served, but to serve. His service was to prepare people for a redemptive kingdom in which He reigns in righteousness over a people made righteous by His death through their trusting faith in Him. The obedience of their faith continually brings about growth and development as His disciples.

He came as a seeker. He sought the lost, those who knew they were lost, and having found them, He saved them. His teaching astonished people because of the authority it embodied. When someone honestly studies the teaching of Jesus Christ they are bought face to face with the highest calling upon their lives and the truest reality of their short comings. And they aren’t angry but thankful because The Suffering Servant came to serve.

He came to offer His life as a ransom for many. The cross was then and is now central to the mission of Christ.

Luke tells us from the first chapter of Acts that Jesus began to do and began to teach. That which Jesus began to do is still unfinished. There are still lost people needing the work of Christ powerfully appropriated to their lives by coming to have faith in Him. Disciples still need teaching and training to ultimately grow to stand in the fullness of the stature of Christ.

Jesus was also very clear about the mission He gave His disciples just prior to ascending to His throne. Leadership is connected to making, training, and maturing disciples of Christ.

The disciples thought that leadership was dependent upon preeminence, power and control. This is why they constantly argued about being greatest in the kingdom. But Jesus put an end to this idea with the words, “Not so among you.” (Luke 22:26) What Jesus taught about leadership in this text is profound. The leader is not to seek control in becoming a ‘good ruler’ i.e. benefactor. The leader is not to ‘lord over’ those he leads. Jesus taught that leadership is not about how to rule well over others.

Leadership is about affecting change leading to growth and maturity among those the leader serves. Great leadership comes only by great serving, great teaching and great training.

Did the apostles teach to others what Jesus taught them? Did they teach leaders the secret to greatness? Did they warn about preeminence? Did they warm about ‘lording over’ people? Next time we’ll look at these questions.

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