BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SERVANT WHO LEADS AND A LEADER WHO SERVES
“Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others. 8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:5—12)
Jesus spoke to his disciples and addressed the two different attitudes. Jesus said the teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit at Moses’ seat. Moses’ seat is a place of authority, leader, overseer, and the one who speaks for God to the people and speaks to God for the people. It is a place of prominence. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees make the gowns and tassels on their garments long. These leaders sitting in Moses’ seat are in it for themselves and their reputation, not the people. Jesus breaks down who they are. Jesus exposed their real motivation for why they were sitting in the seat of Moses.
Jesus said they do all these to be SEEN by the people. They show off and come off as people who look essential. It’s just an image. What they are there for is about themselves. A SERVANT LEADERS PERSPECTIVE and attitude determine how he leads. Servants are usually teachable; they listen to others, think of how to ease people’s lives and concerns, and are willing to do what they are asked to tell to do. They are there not for themselves but for the sake of others. A LEADER SERVANT’S PERSPECTIVE AND ATTITUDE often start with the thought; I AM A LEADER; I must take charge, and everyone should follow. I set the course and what I say goes. Because foremost, their thought process often starts as “I AM A LEADER, not necessarily started as I AM A SERVANT of the people. Jesus pointed out the difference in attitude in this list below.
- They love the place of honor at the banquet.
- They love the most important seats in the synagogues
- They love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces
- They love to be called ‘RABBI” by others.
Many in the role of leadership have this attitude as well. As a young leader, I, too, consider this list of motivations as part of being a leader. However, I am grateful to learn from Jesus that as a Leader is not about any of the things on this list. A leader is not about a title or position and reputation but someone who is among the people as a servant. A leader does not make his title or position as something important. A leader is not about self-promotion and enjoying having a power trip over people under them. A leader should instead serve people in humility and not worry about applause and praise.
Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humbled themselves will be exalted. Jesus said, don’t call yourself Rabbi, Teacher, or Instructor, but be willing to serve. Jesus was addressing the ATTITUDE. Jesus was instructing how to be a leader that does not seek positions or titles but aims to be a servant to his brothers and sisters in Jesus.
I have a long way to go. I want to continue to learn how to lead as someone with a servant’s heart. I know pride is subtle. Pride always thrives in an environment where titles and leadership positions are essential. However, today, I am reminded that the only thing that matters in a servant leader is to be a servant of others and walk in humility before them. I need to walk with this attitude always.
Jesus, lead me and help me to see that you called me to be a servant leader. Teach me what it is to be a leader that does not strive to be influential among others but seeks to serve others. Teach me your humility and lead me to walk with you as my rabbi, teacher, and instructor. Thank you for reminding me today to walk in humility and to have a heart that serves. Amen!