Oct 29, 2010

Looking at a servant leader

I enjoyed the wisdom of a man of great academic achievement and professional accomplishment speak about servant leadership this morning.
He was educated at three of the finest schools in our country, served as President of a top notch University and has undoubtedly experienced the great blessings, joys and accolades that are part of this package.
However, you do not receive these accolades without some gray days, stormy nights and the occasional tornado.
He suffered through an ugly scandal that he was not part of, however as a leader of this university he willingly took responsibility and suffered the consequences.
In his words, it was a dark time, full of anxiety, doubt and concern that he would survive with his health, marriage and family intact.

My first impression of him, which came within the first minute of hearing his voice was humbleness. Pure and simple.  He was humble, soft spoken, transparent and not at all what I had expected.
It made me sit up and say, "Hey, i like this man and I want to hear what he has to say."
He spoke for maybe 20 minutes and the more I listened the more I saw what it is to be a servant leader.
So many times we see leaders who are abrasive, bent on getting their own way, often arrogant.
We know it is hard to reach the Top.  To achieve we sometimes claw and fight our way up, unafraid of hurting those in our path. We can be the tornado sometimes.

Our role as Christian leaders should look different than the worldly view of leadership.
Too often we see selfish ambition, dishonesty, pride.  The Bible is clear about pride coming before the fall and there are many examples to keep us mindful of making that mistake.  Still, we repeat history.

As Christian leaders we are to bring others alongside us, not kick them out of our way.  We are to share the wisdom and discernment  from God and encourage our brothers and sisters.  We are to share the gifts we have been given, recognizing them as such.
We are the body of Christ.  What a beautiful visual Jesus gave us of the church when he talked about the body and each of us having different gifts and how they work together.  Lets use each other to glorify God through these gifts.

Today as I sat with these Christian leaders of my community I was reminded of how blessed I am.  The people God is continually putting in my path to encourage me, to mold me, to remind me.  Remind me, to be humble and look out for the good of others and not myself.  Servant leadership is putting myself last, not first.

Philippines 2:3-5 " Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should not look to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ."
Oh my, that last verse..... verse 5 on attitude, read that a couple of times over.  What would we look like if we had attitudes like Jesus?!

This man shared his journey, the blessings that God has given him through the trials and the dark days. God has brought him through the lonely night to the sunrise of a new morning, full of Gods promises.
He has a new voice and platform to encourage others who find themselves in painful, dark moments of the journey.
We are reminded our story doesn't end in the dark of night.  God is faithful and never leaves us there.  He stretches us to be who he calls us to be, who he demands us to be.  To be the most effective for the role he has chosen for us.
Rarely are we left shiny and new.  More often we are scratched, dented and worn, but as he refines us though the fire we come out solid and strong with an enduring beauty and lasting quality.

Philippines 4:47
" Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.
The Lord is near. Do not be anxious for anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

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