This series on “Reflections on Leadership” was something I prepared for a youth camp in which I am now adapting into blog posts. It has a preachy tone to it. I’ve divided it into a series of three (see below). Today though we will focus on the third and last one.
3) Serving in Love.
When we have mastered both the art of following Jesus and humility (putting on Jesus’ agenda) this will free us to serve in the capacity that God desires of us. For the leadership model that Jesus presents to us is ultimately not the bossy model. Where one becomes your ruler, end of story, and one who dictates you.
Jesus says that those who want to be great in the kingdom of God must first be a servant. Not that Jesus’ kingdom is made up of slaves where we all are hunched back all the time washing feet.
There are four things that I want to address on the point of Service
1. Serving regardless of status
It is somewhat odd to see someone with high status, a somebody serving a nobody. Like the president/ prime minister being a waiter and asking orders from those under him, even people like beggars!
Take Jesus for example, instead of his followers taking initiative to was all their feet it was Jesus who did it for them. They we probably waiting for someone to be the slave (as it was the work of the servant/slave to do this).But Jesus didn’t mind, He was the king of kings, creator of heaven and earth but yet he can take up the basin and a towel and bend down to was his disciples feet.
2. Serving regardless of people levels
- Regardless of who they are
Those, whom Jesus washed were his followers, most were people of no high stature. They were either normal people or scum of society. Yet Jesus served them one by one, washing stinky feet by stinky feet.
I think for us we would like to choose who we want to serve. It is a normal thing to want to serve those above us because they simply are above us-probably we want to make a good impression or things like that. But here, by serving the lesser Jesus shows us that everyone needs to be served.
- Regardless of what they do/ will do to you
Under normal circumstances it would be somewhat unchallenging for us to serve those close to us or those whom we are familiar with. There won’t be any difficulty for this.But what if it is someone who you know will harm you, those who will bring you down. To not know and serve them is one thing but to know without a doubt that they are hurting you and yet serve them without partiality is simply revolutionary.
3. Serving out of love (v.1 Showed them the full extent of his love)
This should be how we should serve, not just out of obligation, not just because the pastor told me so, because I heard a voice, or anything like that. For service to be true and authentic it has to be out of a response of brotherly love or more emphatically put, self giving love. Jesus did not mind who he was serving, what was his mode of serving, or thought of his position or status. He simply served out of love. For service to spring forth from the fountains of love exhausts any feeling of intimidation or self glory. When we serve in love we become less important because we are now focusing more on how best we can serve others.
4. Serving because it is the way of Jesus (v. 14-17)
Often, people like to rationalize that because Jesus came to die on the cross, taking our sin and shame and taking what was supposed to be ours, now we have the freedom to live as children of God. The implication of being the children of God and having God on our side, people tend to think that we should be blessed because we are the kids of the king. I think that rationalization, and the wrong concept of blessing deprives us from seeing what being followers of Jesus and children of God. It is not meant for us to expect pampering and be bosses of people.
Passages such as John 13:14-17 tells his disciples that the way of service is the right passage that any follower, disciple and leader should take. It is not supposed to be an option. Jesus clearly states that “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher” has done so, do like i did. Jesus has to always be our model in leadership and because of that it is best that we know and understand his ways. So, the rational behind this is Jesus showed his disciples, leaders of the early church how he wanted them to act and be as leaders. The picture given to them is Jesus serving them by washing their feet, what insignificant servant would do. And for Jesus to do this he was telling them this is how i want you to act as leaders; in service, because it is my way.