“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”
-Philippians 2:3-7 ESV
If you sit behind a nice desk in a comfortable office at the end of the hall, you may not like this principle. It might call you to leave your chair and venture out into the bullpen. If you’re a hard man who runs his business by intimidating and coercing his workers, you certainly won’t enjoy this message. It may call you to put down that whip you’ve been cracking and soften your approach to leadership…
Jesus Christ was and still is the ultimate model for each and every aspect of our lives. As leaders, one of the most important lessons to be gleaned from His model is that of servant leadership. To think that the Almighty Creator of Heaven and of Earth would so humble Himself to serve his followers is almost unthinkable. But, Jesus did just that.
When we speak of Christ as servant leader, we see images of the Son of God on his hands and knees washing His disciples’ feet (John 13:3-9,) willingly taking the cross (John 19), and all the while calling us to pray for our enemies and those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44.) He didn’t just call us to only serve those who talk, think, act, and look like us. He wants us to serve everyone; even our “enemies.”
Our God could have lived in a mansion on the hill; servants waiting on him hand and foot. Instead, He chose to descend and ‘make himself nothing.’ He lived as a homeless, migrant preacher so that we might know the truth and catch the tiniest glimpse of who He really is. The appropriate response is for us to follow his example and apply it to our own leadership style.
When we look at this in the context of our lives as leaders; whether we lead a congregation, a business, a small group,a family, or simply our friends, we assume great responsibility. We have been blessed with the burden of influence and entrusted to be faithful stewards of such.
We are not appointed to make much of our temporary authority in a prideful way. We are called to humble ourselves and serve those who follow us. By rolling our sleeves up and investing in the lives of the people we lead, we communicate true caring and concern. We help people grow immensely, and in turn, they help us to grow.
My challenge this week is to be more intentional in my service to others. I’m going to make it a point to call individual vendors that I work with to thank and praise them. I will intentionally find more time to catch up with a few friends who may need my support. I want to make it clear to each and every person in my ‘sphere of influence’ that I am here to serve them.
Your service doesn’t have to look or sound like mine. I would urge you, however, to come off of whatever pedestal you may have and humble yourself before your people. Take the time to speak into each individual’s life and let them know that you are truly there to serve them and their needs. You’ll be amazed by the results.
Father, we thank you for such an incredible model of compassion, love, and service in your son Jesus Christ. I pray that each of us would have the desire and the wisdom to live our lives by his perfect example. I ask You to give us the strength to humbly lead and serve the people in our lives with whom you have graciously blessed us.