“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” – James 4:10
One of the most enduring images of Christ’s final days occurs at the Last Supper. Jesus washes his disciples’ feet. It’s the ultimate act of servitude, of a leader completely humbling himself to reinforce an all-important message.
We might forget what was occurring immediately beforehand. The disciples were arguing – not over the menu, or over money, or over another typical conflict. Rather, they were fighting amongst themselves over who was the most important member of the group.
Jesus immediately realized the seriousness of the predicament. A central element of his ministry still had not sunken in with his most devoted followers. He needed to take dramatic action. The first step was filling a wash basin.
As Christ knelt before each disciple, He reminded them that He came to serve, not to be served. The message was imparted by setting an example – his total, utter humility – instead of through mere words.
Jesus provides us the ultimate example of Christian servant leadership. The practice is action-based – not just talk. We are the hands and feet of Jesus. We must go out and serve.
Living as Christ’s Ambassador
”Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.’” – Philippians 2:3-4
The principle of “servant leadership” isn’t new. It’s a topic of innumerable books, and leadership seminars, and consulting practices. The notion of leading others, by putting their needs first, has tremendous cachet.
The idea of Christian servant leadership is a different concept. Its lead practitioner was a man who cast out demons and healed the sick. With His power, Jesus could have ruled as far and wide as He desired. Yet He took a complete opposite tack.
Christ’s message to Christians was clear: Leadership isn’t about gilding our own throne. It’s about putting others first, and glorifying God by doing so.
As our world gets darker, and ever more secular, the need for Christian servant leaders grows. Those holding Christian values, and willing to serve others to exemplify them, are tasked with pulling humanity from its tailspin. The need to step up has never been greater.
Embracing the Role
“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” – Luke 18:14
God has blessed each of us with abundant, unique talents. He expects us to use them to make a positive difference in others’ lives.
How are each of us gifted? How can we use these talents? How should we partner with others to create a cumulative, unstoppable wave?
If we follow God, our gifts will only grow and develop throughout life. Let us embrace them to embolden ourselves, to be courageous in faith, and to be unapologetic in acting it out. Be prepared for God’s redirection of our lives. These should not be fought, but followed.
We’ve all had people who influenced us in positive ways: parents. Teachers. Coaches. Close friends or business colleagues. They shaped us into who we are.
Similarly, Christian servant leadership is about helping others, one person at a time. Where trust is built, results follow. No one should be overlooked. Even simple acts, performed for strangers, can start unexpected ripples. From these humble beginnings, powerful waves grow.
Challenges will present themselves. How far can we go, sharing faith in diverse modern settings? Heaven forbid we “offend” someone!
The answer is not to hide our beliefs. Being non-genuine won’t get us, and our distressed larger society, where we need to be. There is always a way to share Jesus. Maybe even a simple greeting – “Have a blessed day?”
Who will you interact with today … tomorrow … next week … a year from now? How can you share God’s light and message with them? What will their experience be?
The last point, of course, is most important. If others don’t decipher the why of our actions, we aren’t grasping the point Christ made when he washed his disciples’ feet.
As Christian servant leaders, we need to be doing the washing (metaphorically speaking). Are we willing to truly humble ourselves? When the moment arrives, will our basin be full?
(If you’re ready to embrace Christ, He’s ready for you. Visit C Suite for Christ to join in Christ-centered fellowship with other professionals. Join us as a member. Plant a chapter where you live. Consider becoming a corporate partner. Follow C Suite for Christ on LinkedIn and Facebook. Questions? Contact Paul M. Neuberger at (414) 313-8338 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)