Servant Leadership – A Devotional

Servant LeadershipI wanted to share this week’s devotional with everyone because I think we all need to be reminded of the importance of servant leadership.

“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.

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  • http://twitter.com/heartcures @heartcures

    Jesus was the ultimate servant-leader. I so want to be like Him whether my circle of influence be large or small…may I decrease so that He can increase.

    This statement really stood out to me: "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 grow."

    It's true. May we never forget it and learn to do it more.

    Thanks for this great spiritual food!

    • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

      Thank you for reading, Melinda. May we all decrease so that He can increase. :)

  • nashvilleben

    wonderful. humility is certainly at the heart of serving. good stuff, kenny.

    • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

      It’s not until we come to the end of ourselves that we can put aside our pride and truly serve one another. Thank you so much for reading, Ben.

      • nashvilleben

        love that reply, kenny. keep up the awesome work, you are inspiring to me.

  • Steve G.

    Kenny -

    Excellent Post and very timely – A hot topic right now in the leadership community is servant leadership (I would also like to think mentor leadership is on the same theme)

    The passage you have chosen to begin your post on Servant Leadership is right on point…“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

    It conveys the very essence of Servant Leadership and the groundwork for the meaning of Servant Leadership.

    Thanks Kenny for an excellent read and bringing it all together for us to follow.

    BTW, a good book on Mentor Leadership is The Mentor Leader by NFL Coach, Tony Dungy. Keeping with the Super Bowl theme, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach, Mike Tomlin, credits much of his success as a coach to the mentoring from Tony Dungy who Tomlin coached under. “I can give a really pointed answer because I am very conscious of Coach Dungy’s influence in terms of how I do my job,” Tomlin said, adding: “He tries to lead through service, and I do the same. I learned that from him in providing the men what they need to be great. Every day when I go to work, I don’t think about things I have to do, I think about the things I can do to make my men successful. So I have a servant’s mentality in terms of how I approach my job, and I get that from Coach Dungy.”

    SPGonz

  • Barby_messado

    Kenny I really love your article on servant leadership.  I am a pastor serving in a inner city community in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Our church is having its annual conference and I was looking for a devotion for the conference.  Yours is so appropriate. I am challenged to tell my congregation that I am available to help them in any way I can.  I am not only their pastor, I am also a servant.  Thanks for the challenge.  Pastor Barbara Messado
    Green Pond Wesleyan Holiness Church. email: barby_messado@yahoo.com  

  • Vicky Patterson

    I just ran across your site as I was looking for a devotion on leadership to use with my group. Your words are perfect for what I need.

    May God bless you in your discernment and studies.