A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible. – Robert Greenleaf
I love this succinct, powerful description of servant leadership. Of course, Jesus Christ is our perfect example of it. When the Lord of the Universe bends down to wash the feet of His perplexed and scandalized followers to show them what a servant leader looks like, that’s the epitome. Jesus served throughout His ministry; He healed, fed the hungry, forgave sins, showed mercy and compassion, saved souls, died for humanity. He shared with His followers and showed them what leadership should look like. It’s sacrificial for the good of those you are responsible for, those you love.
True servant leaders are selfless, humble, and consider the needs of others before their own. They have the “long view” that always influences how they behave and makes them aware that others are always watching…and learning. If you are in charge of an institution or a part of an organization that relies on integrity and the rule of law to operate, you especially need this understanding of service.
You can teach someone the right way and the wrong way to lead by your actions. I wish that those individuals who the culture says are “important,” or famous, who are extremely wealthy or always in the news for good or ill, that they could learn the impact of their behavior’s effect on those who are watching them. They are all informal ‘leaders’ because of their role in our society; if only they were aware of the terrible responsibility that comes with that position.
I think many won’t because they are not aware of eternal realities. They don’t realize just how brief their lives here are and so aren’t oriented toward Home. Too many disregard the transcendent, if they contemplate it at all. God wants us to be with Him. How many of those who are wandering in the wilderness know that? Oblivious to the meaning of their lives and thoughtless about the responsibility they bear to be good role models for others, those leaders need to know.
How many have ever been told about a God who loves them, each of them as if there were only one? How many realize that Love is the greatest virtue, that Love never ends, that Love is stronger than Death? How many know that God is Love? Maybe it’s time we tell them. God help us to share the Good News, those of us who know it.
For the Love of God, we must figure out ways to let the world know. Not just those clueless elected and appointed government leaders, not just church leaders or military leaders, not just those who wear the title of celebrity or who are famous for being famous, but everyone. There are lost among the poor and forgotten, as well. There is despair everywhere.
But there is also hope. And those of us who know it need to spread that hope far and wide. You may not think of yourself as a leader. But you have a sphere of influence around you – family and friends, even people you’ve just met. You can help lead them Home; be a leader. Pray for wisdom to know what to say; pray for strength to do what God asks of us.
We know where hope lies. We know what true love is. We have an obligation, out of love and concern for our brothers and sisters whoever they are, to be the servant leaders Jesus wants us to be. And to show others how it’s done, just as He showed us…