Servant leadership may involve serving even when the end result of our service may not be known. Read Luke 1:26-38.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a Jewish girl from an economically depressed family living in a remote insignificant town in the Roman Empire. She is thought to have been in her early teens when the angel Gabriel appeared to her with the information that she would be the mother of the promised Messiah. Mary’s leadership may be best seen in her humble acceptance of God’s favor and her unwavering belief in God’s promises. When Gabriel informed Mary of her assignment she first sought clarification and simply said, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”
One crucial message Jesus wanted His disciples to hear is that Kingdom leaders are servant leaders. Read Mark 10:35-45.
Jesus had been teaching some distance from Jerusalem. The religious leaders in Jerusalem had made it clear they intended to stop Jesus’ influence among the people, even if that meant killing Him, so Jesus’ followers were surprised when He started heading for Jerusalem. As they traveled, Jesus made it clear to His followers that their fears were valid and the chief priests and teachers of the law would have Him killed when they arrived in Jerusalem. It is against this backdrop that James and John, two of Jesus’ most trusted friends, came to Him and asked for favored positions when Jesus took up His leadership in heaven. To the other disciples their request felt like a betrayal of their friendship bond. James and John had sought positional advantage in an underhanded way.
Do you find it difficult to restrain yourself from using your authority in stressful situations? (197-1)
Effective leaders practice restraint when using their power and influence. Read Matthew 26:57-68.
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day had finally had enough of His public statements pointing out their outright disobedience to the spirit of God’s laws for governing the people. Jesus was arrested and brought before the religious Supreme Court called the Sanhedrin. Even though Jesus had the power to call down legions of angels as His character witnesses or for His protection He endured the false accusations and attacks because He knew His Father was in control of the situation (1 Peter 2:23). Jesus restrained the use of His power, trusting God to bring justice as it fit into His perfect plan.
A servant-leader’s rights will decrease as their responsibilities increase. Matthew 20:25-28.
In his notes in The Maxwell Leadership Bible, John Maxwell discusses something he calls the “leadership pyramid.”
The God-honoring view of how a leader gains greatness is a mirror image of what most leaders assume. Read Matthew 20:20-28.
Jesus had a very intimate moment with His disciples in Matthew 17-19 when He laid out for them the treatment He would receive leading to His death in Jerusalem. He was making clear to them how He, the Son of God, would be called upon to sacrifice for those He led. He must have experienced some disappointment when in the following hours James and his brother John, two of His closest disciples, made a request (through their mother) for positions of power when He returned to heaven. Jesus’ response clearly defines His view of how a leader gains power.