“And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.’ ” Mark 9:35
I’ll never forget the example of leadership demonstrated to us by Mr. Perkins, the business manager of Cedar Lake Academy and one of the sponsors for the senior class during our senior trip. When we got to our first stop he called us all together and he told us that he knew that some of us were going to be messing around all night and that he didn’t want us getting into trouble so if in the middle of the night we decided that we wanted pizza or sandwiches he didn’t want us going AWOL. Instead, he wanted us to come to his room and get him and he would go wth us wherever we wanted to go. It didn’t matter what time it was. This was our trip and he was there to help make it the best senior trip he could.
Friends, that’s leadership. I know that some of the guys took him up on his offer and I know that for me it made me more willing to listen to any other instructions he had to give.
Too many of us though see leadership through the lens where it shows us how to have things so that it’s most meaningful for us. And since our sinful natures haven’t been completely eradicated this means that in some measure we’re getting as much as we can for ourselves and doing as little as we have to for others.
The “more for self” attitude seems to be the leadership paradigm the disciples had. That’s why Jesus had to sit them down and tell them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”
No matter how you look at that text it fells you that Christlike leadership puts others first.
Paul put it this way in Philippians chapter two when he wrote, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” Paul goes on to lift up the selfless example of Christ who though he was God still set aside any status or advantage that could have given him and instead, like a servant, he put our needs before his own.
We tend to resist being led down this path of servant leadership. It demands too much sacrifice for a sinful heart to take. But this is the path that the Son of God walked when he walked this earth and this is the path godly men and women will walk if they will follow him. This is the path Jesus is preparing you to walk and he’ll help you if you’ll let him.