25 Jesus called them (the disciples) together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave--28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” --Matthew 20:25-28 (NIV)
Those verses contain Jesus’ response to the indignation of the disciples after James’ and John’s mother asked if He would place one of her sons on his right and the other on his left when He established his kingdom. There were at least a couple of things wrong with that request. First, it was a request for power: James, John and their mother still didn’t understand what kind of kingdom Jesus was establishing. To them, leadership was about power when Jesus was trying to teach and model servant leadership. Secondly, it’s so wrong to have your mother ask your boss to give you a promotion!
Servant leadership. We talk about it all the time, but even in Christian circles we emphasize the leadership part and play down the servanthood part. I think, perhaps, we have the order of importance reversed. Perhaps we should focus on becoming a servant before we worry about developing our leadership skills.
Servanthood is a better test of our character than leadership and everything hinges on character. Warren Buffet said, “In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity (another word for character) intelligence, and energy. And if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.”
We should all remember the words of Oswald Chambers: “All throughout history God has chosen and used nobodies, because their unusual dependence on Him makes possible the unique display of his power and grace. He chooses to use somebodies only when they renounce dependence on their natural abilities and resources.”
In other words, God uses servant leaders.