A few years ago a national Psychology report was conducted which measured humility in leadership positions across the country. The results were eye opening. We live “in a culture that increasingly rewards self-promotion and essentially punishes those who refuse to engage in it, humility seems endangered.”
Jesus dealt with self-promotion too. A mother of two of his disciples (James and John) came to Jesus and asked, “Let my two sons sit in the place of honor next to you in your kingdom.” You can only imagine the faces of the other ten disciples when this question was asked. I would like to have been there and captured the disgust for Instagram. It would have been priceless. However, as I think about our own culture I’m pretty confident the scenario would have played out much the same way if Jesus had come in 21st century America.
Immediately after this request, Jesus calls his disciples together and has a holy huddle.
But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Matthew 20:25-28
Worldly leaders lead by demanding their own way. They flaunt their leadership power.
Jesus followers lead by serving. It’s the opposite of the ways of the world.
Now to be clear, all of us are leaders in some capacity. Whether, husbands, wives, mom’s, dad’s, teachers, supervisors, etc. All of us lead in some capacity. In that leadership capacity we are called to lead with an attitude of servant humility.
What’s interesting about the research article is that the idea of servant leadership is valued but the expression of it is difficult. In fact, researchers concluded,
“Americans overwhelmingly say that they value humility. They want their friends to be humble and they say they want to be humble, but expressions of it tend to be rare…”
Which is why Jesus’ point of servant leadership is so poignant. Servant leadership is easy to read and simple to understand, but very difficult to express in daily life. Nonetheless, Jesus calls us to serve. He makes it very clear that His followers are to be different than the leaders of the world. We are to be different. We are to walk the way of a servant. It’s a humble path that is rarely used in our society. Which is why so much brokenness and hurt surrounds us. But Jesus points to a better way. He calls us to follow him and lead with humility.
This leads me to a question: How are you taking Jesus’ words to heart? Are you a servant walking in a spirit of humility or are you demanding your way? Whatever and whoever you lead, take a few minutes right now and decide how you will become a better servant leader. In fact, determine today to lead with a servant attitude. It will change your world and more importantly it will please Jesus, which is the ultimate goal of our life.