Leadership by Servanthood
This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt
Whoever wants to become great among you must serve the rest of you like a servant. Whoever wants to become first among you must serve the rest of you like a slave. In the same way, the Son of Man did not come to be served. He came to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many people. Matthew 20:26-28 (NCV)
The world considers Jesus to be one of the greatest leaders in all of history – whether or not they believe Him to be God. There is no doubt that Jesus influenced others – and has continued to do so for 2,000 years. But, Jesus taught that real leadership was achieved not by throwing around power and authority, but through serving others.
A friend once told me the true story of a young man who was a college football player – until he had a stroke during practice one day. The young man suffered brain damage and was in a coma for a couple of weeks. When he woke up, he was paralyzed and couldn’t walk. The doctors told him that he would never walk again. Eventually, he regained the use of his legs and re-learned how to walk. But, the brain damage had been severe enough that he would never be normal again. The university where he had played football hired him as a custodian. He loved his job. He said that he was so thankful to God that he was alive and the he could hug his wife and play with his children. He said that he was so thankful that the university had given him a good job – even if it was picking up other people’s trash – because he loved helping other people. Here was a guy who had all the reason in the world to be angry at God and to give up. But instead, because his life had been touched by God’s love, he had found real life – in loving God and serving others.
By the world’s standards, this young man was not a leader. Still, he has demonstrated the type of leadership that Jesus promotes – serving others. He’s influenced others by serving them. And, I know that the retelling of this young man’s story continues to serve as an inspiration to others.
If you have ever found yourself thinking that you are just an average person with no exceptional skills or expertise to make a difference in the world, let today’s story remind you that everyone can be a leader through becoming a willing servant – helping others whenever and wherever we can.
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1. Serving others involves making sacrifices. What types of sacrifices are you most likely to make on behalf of others?
2. What types of sacrifices are you least likely to make in order to help others? Why? Ask God to give you a willingness to serve others without hesitation or reservation.
Luke 10:25-37; John 13:2-17
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