For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.
At a two-day simulcast conference on leadership the OCF home office staff attended years ago, one session featured a well-known speaker who had a related reality program on TV. He asked leaders in the audience to stand if they had employees who were problematic and that if they left it would be a relief. Once they stood, he immediately and loudly blasted them: “that employee’s ineptness is your fault!”
The stunned audience sat in awkward silence, squirming for those who stood, only to be shamed and verbally cut off at the knees. But for a conference with the mantra that true leadership is about sacrifice and making others better, it was a soul-penetrating question cutting to the core of leadership. Is that a true statement? Am I failing to help make my employees better? But is it just a one-way street?
In Christian circles especially, by tacking on “servant” to “leadership,” servant leadership is often only illustrated by Jesus washing His disciples’ feet at the Last Supper. But LTC Bryan Groves, USA, pointed out in COMMAND magazine “Perspectives on Servant Leadership,” “Since we don’t really understand servant leadership, we sometimes suggest that Christian officers should do the same—or imply that generals should clean bathrooms. I think that perspective skews what Jesus intended: anticipating and meeting a real need of His disciples, even when it’s an unpleasant task.”
“All leadership should be about accomplishing the mission while taking care of your people and making the unit/family/organization better along the way.” It is leadership “characterized by prioritizing, anticipating, and meeting others’ needs by using the resources granted by your position,” one of “humility, concern for people, and investing in creating a winning team around you.”
In the coming days, we will journey with Jesus in His suffering to the Cross of Calvary, the Sinless dying to rescue us, the sinful lost. Hell’s seeming defeat of God was three days later God’s ultimate triumph: “when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants” (Isaiah 53:10, NLT).
Jesus’ leadership of investing in the lives of those entrusted to Him formed followers who embraced Him and His mission of eternal salvation into leaders who replicated that in others. By giving His all for us out of love, Jesus’ loving leadership of us should inspire us to gladly give Him our very best.
Thank you for responding to our heavenly Commander in Chief’s call to come before Him as an OCF prayer warrior.