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What is Servant Leadership?

Roderick C. Meredith (1930-2017)
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Servant Leadership is a concept and a practice that all Christians should implement. But what is Servant Leadership? And how can we practice it?

In all human history, the best example of Servant Leadership is that of Jesus Christ. He had been with the Father from eternity. He had awesome glory, power and majesty. As the "Word" or Spokesman for the Father, it was His voice that said, "Let there be light" (Genesis 1:3). At the very throne of God, He was surrounded by indescribable beauty and majesty. Over 100 million angels were there, worshipping and praising Him and the Father (Revelation 5:11-12).

Yet, since the Word and the Father had decided to bring millions of human beings into their Family, this great Being was willing to "empty" Himself—as the Greek word is correctly translated in Philippians 2:7. He took the "form of a servant." Then, "being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross" (v. 8).

In the human flesh, Jesus "gave" of Himself all day long. He lovingly and patiently taught, He healed, He blessed, He encouraged, He served. Jesus had very clearly taught His disciples by His example, "Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:26-28).

In all our activities, the emphasis must be on serving—not on pleasing the self or exalting the self or seeking a bigger "position." All of us must constantly humble the self through God's Spirit, and try to be sure that we are genuinely motivated by a spirit of service in whatever we do. If we have to take a lower position for a time-as even the Son of God did—in order to better serve, let us graciously do this and thank God for the opportunity.

God is testing the attitudes of every one of us! He wants to know if we are truly learning the lessons of Servant Leadership. Are we willing to take the "lowest seat" if that works out better and helps us serve more? Are we constantly thinking about how we can best use our talents, our time and our resources to better serve others and to prepare for the Kingdom of God?

John, the beloved Apostle, tells us, "By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" (1 John 3:16). Let us truly be motivated by a spirit of giving, helping, serving and encouraging one another. Then, without doubt, we will be granted entrance into our Father's everlasting Kingdom which will be totally based on that spirit of love, kindness, patience, service and profound joy.

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  Originally Published: 06th January 2005