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Servant Leadership

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Scripture: Mark 10:42-45 NLT

42 So 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. 43 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. 45 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.”


By Phil Nelson

You’ve probably heard the term “self-serving”. It’s similar to “humble brag”. One word cancels out the full meaning of the other.

It is the way of the world for leaders to ‘lord it over people’, acting superior and using bluster and intimidation to get their way; to flaunt authority, boast and parade their power before others. But Jesus instructed his disciples to do exactly the opposite.

For context, in this passage two of Jesus’ disciples are asking to sit at his left and right side on thrones in heaven. To these disciples, having authority meant sitting above others in glory. But Jesus poked a hole in their fantasy and spoke of the road of suffering.

"If the end goal for Jesus was simply power and authority he wouldn’t have bothered coming to earth."

Leadership to Jesus means serving others. This is where we get our term “public servants” for those working in government. Authority and power are given for the sake of others well-being. It is for the purpose of both justice and mercy. In the church, authority is given to equip and build others up - not to tear them down. We’re called to serve the needs of others over our own.

This is a form of authority that’s been called ‘servant leadership’. In this case the first word doesn’t cancel the second but gives its full meaning. Examples include washing another’s dirty feet, listening to another’s concerns, helping heal, restore and mediate between two sides of a conflict. If the end goal for Jesus was simply power and authority he wouldn’t have bothered coming to earth. Instead he surrendered his rights and privileges as God, was born as a baby, learned obedience under parents and governing authorities, led a life of service and surrendered his life to corrupt men. His end goal was our salvation and establishing his kingdom. His means to that goal was love.


Quiet your thoughts and ask Jesus to speak in whatever way he wishes

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