Sunday, April 27, 2008

NEW LEADERS...this week's devotion


The United States is forever looking for new leaders. Every four years Presidential candidates traipse across the country, starting in Iowa, kissing babies, speaking at official functions, and in general trying to convince the people that they have the answers for what ails us.

Currently, all we have to do is turn on the television or pick up a newspaper and see all of the "promises" our current Presidential candidates are offering. We've heard the promises all before and I am confident in another four years we will hear it again. No matter how often we change the faces, the problems seem to find a way to continue. And promises meant for good go unmet.

Over 2000 years ago, Jesus pointed out that the problem was not finding new leaders, but rather finding a new style of leadership. The style of leadership of that day, is very similiar to what we see today, a leadership of self serving. This type of leadership has several shortcomings.
  • For one thing, the leader benefits far more than the followers do. They get the power and perks while the needs of the people are most often ignored. People will only tolerate that for so long.
  • Secondly, a dominant style of leadership is dependent soley on the main leaders insights. They don't listen to others. They often are not concerned with others. This means a very limited perspective when trying to address complex social needs.
  • Thirdly, Where does the cycle end? Self-focused people serve themselves for awhile and then are replaced by more self-focused people.
What Jesus called for was a NEW style of leadership-servant leadership!

Instead of taking a position of leadership to feel important or to control others or to get special perks, or any of the other self-serving reasons people have, He called on people to lead through serving God and others.

In the book of Luke we read the words of Christ; (chapter 22, verse 26-27)...
"But it must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever is greatest among you must become like the youngest, and whoever leads, like the one serving. (27) For who is greater, the one at the table or the one serving? Isn't it the one at the table? But I am among you as the One who serves."

When Christ spoke these words, He knew that He was about to die on a cross. The disciples were with Him at the Last Supper. They would go out to the Mount of Olives where Jesus would be betrayed by Judas Iscariot and arrested. He would become the victim of an unjust trial and then executed in one of the most cruel manners conceived by mankind...crucifixion.

Nevertheless, Jesus understood that His days on earth to teach His disciples how to become leaders were limited. We can see in Scripture, that Jesus chose from the very beginning to teach His disciples how to lead, so that they could lead His church forward after He had ascended to Heaven to be with His Father.

Jesus did not try to micromanage, He didn't tell them specifically where to lead, but how to lead. He wanted the Disciples to understand what had gone on before them. King David had once been a powerful king who dominated his part of the world. He made the rules. Jesus wanted to teach the Disciples that leadership is not through power, but through service!

Last week in the YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers of this blog about feeling like a servant. I asked, "as an adult, when do you most feel like a servant?" The top 3 results of that poll indicate that at times we all feel like a servant:

1. 42% polled indicated that they feel like a servant when someone tells them to do something rather than ask.
2. 23% of the voters also indicated that they feel like a servant whenever they have to pick up stuff in the house that someone else threw there.
3. 23% also indicated they feel like servants whenever they work long hours and have no time for fun.

Having a servant's heart and attitude is different than being mistreated or having unreasonable expectations put on you. This type of servant leadership I am talking about is not necessarily picking up everyones dirty socks around the house.

Jesus called for Christians to take on a different style of leadership. He wanted a servant leadership that could help people find liberation...not from political forces, but from the sin, the violence and the hate that so enslaved humankind.

"If the Son sets you free, you really will be free." - JESUS CHRIST

It took Jesus' first disciples a while to adapt to the leadership style that He was calling them to have. This high calling of servant leadership is not just a measuring stick for those in high profile leadership positions. It is our responsibility to educate ourselves on the current issues, and the current political candidates views, but the standard of servant leadership begins with me, it begins with you, all of us!

What style of leadership are you leading by?

Are you leading your sunday school class by serving others?
Are you leading your family by serving them unconditionally?
Are you leading your co-workers to Jesus by the way you act and speak at work?

It is my prayer that today you will choose to lead by serving God and serving others!


"which of the following would you least likely do right now, because it would lower your standard?

1 comment:

Cheri said...

I always need a reminder about being a servant.

For me it's about holding every thought captive to Christ...if I can do that, then I can serve with a right heart. I won't be feeling used and abused if my attitude is good.