Author: Kelly Shor
[NIV] Matthew 23:11 The greatest among you will be your servant.
Why would Jesus Christ tell his disciples that before they can be great, they must be servants? In this passage, He was speaking to His disciples about humility. The Pharisees and similar religious leaders serve as examples of those who loved to broadcast their good deeds. They took pride in their public righteousness and often forgot that Jesus Christ warned to avoid practicing it in front of others. By doing so, they risked receiving a reward from their Heavenly Father.
It is unfortunate that “Christians” like these Pharisees still exist today. Jesus warned his disciples to be weary of those who expect praises from men and love to be honored with every passing opportunity. This type of leadership is usually not effective because they spend majority of their time protecting their status, instead of doing what is required of them.
Who is a servant?
A servant is one that offers help to another person of some kind. The attitude of a servant was demonstrated through Christ Himself. Despite being the Son of God, He showed humility by washing the feet of His own disciples. Jesus Christ also stated that he did not come to be served but to serve. That is service and that is humility. Leaders who are servants view their leadership as an act of service.
Servant leadership is service to others. It is not about lobbying for a position, nor politicking for power. Instead it is about looking for opportunity to serve. Servant leaders avoid the limelight and serve in ways that often go unnoticed, such as taking out the trash or making the coffee at work. These acts do not have to be grand in order to be noticed by God.
Any leader that is preoccupied with personal interests, protection of status, and preservation of positions, may not be a good ambassador of Christ. True leaders are those who strive to please the Lord through their lives with integrity. The Bible is full of great people who were exalted because of their humble hearts. David, Joseph, Solomon and Samuel are a few. They learned how to serve people and God. Even as kings, they were lowly at heart and were able to be used as a vessel of honor.
To be great you must first learn how to serve in a humble manner. Jesus Christ said, those who humble themselves will be exalted and 1st Peter 5:5 tells us God opposes the proud. A person who is proud or has pride is indirectly contending with God and would therefore not be exalted. Jesus Christ served for the glory of God. His ultimate service was laying down His life in love. Even though the Son of God, He was always ready to offer Himself. Our Lord Jesus is a perfect example of a servant leader.