This runs counter to everything around us … the idea that serving equals greatness. But deep down, Jesus Way servant leadership is baked into the reality of everything. It’s simply how things truly work. Jesus promised greatness for those who serve.
James and John knew something big was going to happen with Jesus. And they were jockeying for premium position and power! At this place in their journey, let’s say they were opportunists. Extreme opportunists. See Mark 10.35-45.
“We want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.”
“What do you want me to do for you?”
“Grant that we may sit in Your glory, one on Your right, and one on Your left.”
Jesus calls us to a new model
Jesus told them, “You really don’t know what you’re asking for. The Father has perfectly designed your portion and place.” (Is this not a freeing perspective?)
“Those who are outside of Me, outside of My Kingdom, seek to ‘lord’ over others. This is not the way for you.”
“The real pathway to greatness is all-out service. If you want to be first, you must serve all.”
Jesus came to serve and give everything.
When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:41-45 NLT).
This flows against the current of most everything around us. But because it’s original, even radical, what transformation could it unleash?
The archangel Lucifer tried to seize the preeminent place … “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God … I will make myself like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14 NAS). Authentic serving is the opposite heart attitude of Lucifer, now Satan. Jesus came in the opposite spirit of Lucifer/Satan. He came to serve. As we serve from a heart of love, we are living and working in the spirit of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Way servant leadership is the gold standard
The New Testament reveals that Jesus Christ is now the “head” over all things. Absolutely everything is under His feet. This is our true reference point for “headship” or leadership.
God the Father has exalted Jesus and given him the highest name because of his humility and obedience …
Jesus “emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men … He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death … For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:7-9).
Love is the basis of how things truly work. Jesus Way servant leadership is the gold standard for those who lead. He suspended his privileges and rights. It was costly. He gave everything for the joy of the reward.
Imagine what Jesus Way leadership could do …
Imagine if POLITICAL LEADERS AND GOVERNMENT WORKERS were to serve the interests of the citizens and the country … and not themselves. “That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth” (President Lincoln at Gettysburg, American Civil War). Real government is for the people.
Imagine BUSINESS LEADERS who create a culture of serving others. They offer solutions and add value to make others successful—customers and clients as well as those who are employed in the enterprise. What if it wasn’t about personal power and the raw pursuit of money?
Imagine EDUCATIONAL LEADERS and teachers who are authentically present for students and not for special interests, an agenda, or even for themselves.
Imagine HUSBANDS AND FATHERS who move in a true Christ-like headship, laying down their lives for the highest good of their wives and families. Generations would be elevated. The benefit would overflow into society.
Every sphere of influence can be elevated by Jesus Way leadership.
Jesus-styled leadership transforms things—it unleashes liberty, creativity, fruitfulness, and potential. As we lead from a Christ-like heart, we put the spotlight on Jesus and the limitless potential of his Kingdom!
Jesus said this actually is the way to true greatness, influence and prosperity.
“These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6.32-33 NLT).
If everything hinges on leadership (and it does), then we’re on to something amazing here.
He’s the Brilliant One! As Christ-followers, let’s let his brilliance flow everywhere, releasing excellence and transformation.
Q4U: What about Jesus-styled leadership? Have we ever explored it? What could change this week for the better in your world by going the Jesus Way?