Most of these “Leadership Proverbs” I’ve just picked up, absorbed and imbibed by some process of osmosis along the way and don’t know exactly whom they originated from. But when I know I’ll make reference, and when I don’t it’s not that I’m ungrateful or that I want to appear like a genius. It’s genuinely that I can’t remember. So if I’ve flogged something from you let me know and I’ll happily acknowledge it.
Servanthood is Greatness
When Jesus discusses rulers and how they rule with his disciples, as recorded in Mark 10:35-45, Jesus highlights a number of points of similarities and a number of differences. Some of the similarities would be that he does not speak against the idea of rulers and ruling. He does not speak against the desire to be great. And he does not rebuke them for wanting to be first. But what he does do is he radically reframes what it means to rule and the desires to be great and be first he fills with new content.
Christian leaders are not to rule as the Gentile rulers do, by lording it over others and flaunting their authority. Rather, they are to use their authority to serve and they are to rule by serving those they oversee.
And the model is Jesus himself. Who is Lord, and does rule, and does possess and exercise authority. But he does so always as a servant. He does so by laying down his life and by giving up his rights and privileges.
As a leader your job is to help those you lead succeed. Those people under you don’t exist to serve you or to make your life easier. You exist to serve them. You are to be their first assistant and their head coach and chief cheerleader. Leadership means servanthood. And servanthood means greatness.
Jesus said in Mark 10:43-44: “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.” Greatness is achieved by being a servant. Being number one means being a slave to all. It’s a radical and complete paradigm shift. Your goal as a leader is to serve your team as best you can.
Australia and the UK have it right – at least in name only – when they call their senior leaders “Prime Ministers”. In other words Chief Servants. That’s the Christian idea of ruling. It reverses the leadership organisational pyramid.
This is the core of Christian leadership in practice.