Lead Like a Servant

33 They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” 34 But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.

 35 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

 36 He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”

-Mark 9:22-37

The weekend before last, I had the pleasure/responsibility at my church to take part in the process of selecting the candidates to put forward as elders and deacons for the care of the church. This is actually my second time taking part in the process and it has been a great experience. It is a rare thing when you are invited in to hear people’s passion for serving and stepping in to help the church and the vulnerability and brutal honesty that people exhibit while putting themselves out there, is awe-inspiring. It’s almost like getting a chance to do meta-physical, open heart surgery on the heart of a servant. Hearing the stories of people who express their willingness to serve the church and to be the hands and feet that reach out to love others is seriously one of the greatest experiences I have had while working in the church. 

Something that became increasingly clear throughout our interviews is whether someone was being interviewed for the role of a deacon (specifically a role for service and hands-on working with people in need) or the role of elder (the role of decision-making and guiding the direction of the church both physically and spiritually), candidates all expressed a humility and gentleness of spirit that was staggering to see, especially in the lives of people stating their desire to lead in the church.

The heart of a leader is routed in this humility and I’m struck by my own selfish desire to put myself above others. Unlike Christ, who even being in his very nature God, did not consider his superiority something to be flaunted, but instead took on the nature of a lowly person and even further than that took on the role of a servant. If he did it, how much more so should I be willing to put others in front of my own needs?

45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

-Mark 10:45


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