Servant Leadership

You may have read recently about the billionaire inventor who sold his business and went to work with the poor in another country. While there, he was accused of subverting the peace and seeking to overthrow the government. During his trial he was beaten by soldiers. Then he was mocked by a large crowd of people. In the midst of the turmoil, he was taken outside the city and killed.

The above paragraph is a loose rendition of the OGV (Old Guy Version) of Philippians 2:6-8.

The Passion Translation gives this account:

He existed in the form of God, yet he gave no thought to seizing equality with God as his supreme prize. Instead he emptied himself of his outward glory by reducing himself to the form of a lowly servant. He became human! He humbled himself and became vulnerable, choosing to be revealed as a man and was obedient. He was a perfect example, even in his death—a criminal’s death by crucifixion.

Jesus has been called a “servant leader”. The servant leadership style is taught by books, seminars, Zoom classes, and even in Ivy League colleges as the best model to lead others.

Below is a quote from the Harvard Business Review from an article written by Daniel Cable (who wrote the book Alive at Work):

The key is to help people feel purposeful, motivated, and energized so they can bring their best selves to work … one of the best ways to do this is to adopt the humble mindset of a servant leader. Servant leaders view their key role as serving employees as they explore and grow. 

HMMMM … the Bible and the Harvard Business Review agree on something! (Well, at least one article in the HBR.)

Servant leadership can be summed up by considering two concepts – serving and influence. Jesus gave up His presence in heaven to become a servant and by becoming a servant, He influenced history. The Passion Translation says this about the influence of Jesus:

Because of that obedience God exalted him and multiplied his greatness! He has now been given the greatest of all names! The authority of the name of Jesus causes every knee to bow in reverence! Everything and everyone will one day submit to this name—in the heavenly realm, in the earthly realm, and in the demonic realm. And every tongue will proclaim in every language: “Jesus Christ is Lord Yahweh,” bringing glory and honor to God, his Father!

The world is about influence. Usually the influence comes through force, control, or violence. Few gain their influence by serving. Influence that isn’t earned by serving will sooner or later by overwhelmed by the next force or control or violence.

Jesus stands that test – His serving still impacts the world – and no force, control, violence, or the gates of hell – can stand against it.

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