Developing Servants 2
The focus on developing servants is greater than that of developing leaders.
I realize that we often focus on the idea of developing leadership, and I wouldn’t diminish that need, properly understood. The problem is that we must be very careful not to get our ideas of leadership from the secular world rather than from Christ.
This is a problem the Corinthians were apparently having. They were enamored with leaders, but failed to see what was most important. Paul reminds them:
“What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth” (1 Cor. 3:5-7).
“Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor. 4:1). Paul saw himself as a servant, and this is a much greater need than one seeing self as a leader. In fact, through serving, one is leading God’s way.
Let’s come back to Mark 10:35-45 and notice the context of the in-fighting of the disciples as they were looking for positions of leadership, authority, and power. They completely missed what it meant to be disciples of the true Lord. The point is that our focus really ought to be in developing servants Let’s notice the point in Ephesians 4:11-12:
“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.”
The reason for these teachers is to equip all disciples to serve. Each of us are ministers and servants. Each of us needs to learn to develop ourselves as servants. Now someone might say, “Yes, but a true servant is also a leader.” So be it. But not all leaders are servants. If we want the kind of leaders who are godly, then we need to focus on developing servants first.
In the world we see all kind of leadership classes, leadership articles, and leadership materials, but when do we see a servanthood class and servanthood materials. Leaders are a dime a dozen in the world. Servants are far more rare. They aren't the same.
In Christ’s church, however, servants ought to be norm, not the exception. Any leadership model among God’s people that is not patterned after love, sacrifice, and service will fall woefully short. Notice again that Jesus did not say, “I came to lead…” He said, “I came to serve.” If the Lord Himself, the One who has all authority and power, came to serve, and we are to have the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5), then all of us are to seek to be servants. When we start fighting with each other, vying for positions of honor and power, failing to show love and sacrifice, then we are no longer disciples of Jesus. Through love serve one another. Let’s focus on developing ourselves as servants. The Christ-like servants will then be the leaders God wants, and they will lead through serving.
Now let’s bring this back to the home. What kind of leader does God want in the home, men? A tyrant? Or a servant who sacrifices? What kind of leader is Jesus? What kind of love does He show the church? Let Ephesians 5 inform us. Let us become servants who sacrifice, and so lead through servanthood.
This also challenges the way that biblical headship and submission are characterized by the world. Submission does not indicate inferiority. It does not mean that Paul hated women. Look at how he tells the men to treat their wives: as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for it. No greater act of servanthood and sacrifice can be found than what Christ did. He provides the soft landing for us as His church, for people who are sick and tired of the world and need peace: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy- laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30).
We find rest for our souls in Christ. Husbands and wives ought to be able to find rest in each other. We are not to be heavy-handed, but gentle and humble, providing rest for the weariness of the world. The home, more than any place, should be that direct reflection of our relationship with Christ. This is the leadership we need to develop.