But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. (Matthew 23:11)
The verse this week is teaching us how to be influential and dependable leaders. Jesus advised us that the best way to be influential and great in life is to serve people around us. Our greatness lies in serving people in our community and being a servant leader, which can be extremely rewarding and empowering.
I have come across a number of people society label as 'abnormal' or 'strange' simply because they do not conform with the social norm but happen to have Godly attributes. When I then came across this verse, I reflected on that thought and wondered whether these 'abnormal' people will be welcomed in Heaven contradictory to that on earth. Reminding me of what the disciples were told in John 15:18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first". Confirming that these people will be welcomed into Heaven, the treatment on earth is temporary as disciples of Christ we are not going to be popular or worthy to this society. But God sees us as worthy and welcomes us wholeheartedly.
What about those who reject God who the world openly celebrates? I realised they do get rewards but they are earthly and not eternal. They may have everything they need on Earth and do not believe that they need God, but one day they will also have to answer to God and stand before His throne.
“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions”. (Mathew 24:45-47)
Success begot success.
When I completed my education, everyone congratulated me and cheered me on, It felt good and amazing, I wanted more recognition so I began to associate myself with those who appeared affluent and known in the community. When I then lectured in universities and a class gave me a standing ovation cheering and clapping additionally then giving encouragement and words of inspiration to the students that wasn't enough, I wanted more I thought that I would be beyond satisfied when I then became a Manager. I was then managing, lecturing at a university, writing articles and earned more money. Even after I had accomplished all these things I was still not satisfied. It felt like there was something missing as I did not have time to pray, attend small groups and congregate with other women of God.
As I advanced in my career, I started to think more about power, affluence and money. I struggled to have a mindset where my position at work was more important including the need to meet the performance indicators that would get me a higher position. So, I resigned, because I was no longer getting job satisfaction, which I remembered receiving in my earlier career when I was serving and helping people, where I had an opportunity to serve in my church and pray. I realised that I was happier when I was serving others and was sacrificing my time to help others to grow and develop, but appeared to struggle with the position I was in at the time. I was torn in between worldly fleshy things and Kingdom culture. Presentation-wise, I looked good and happy but, on the inside, I felt lost and sad.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect in the sight of God” (Romans 12:2)
So, I began to read what God said about leadership, all the verses in the bible describe leaders in the bible as servant leaders. Then I wondered what if instead of being a manager in a big government organisation where I am driven to make decision-based or resource-based decisions work in a smaller organisation with less pay but work to help people around me and do things for God. I realised that there is a much grander stage that involves every moment I live, everything I do for God and how I make each day in my life count for God.
It was truly an enlightening experience for me to know that I can still hold a position that will allow me to serve God and help people in their journey of life. Whatever it may look like now, I know that God is with me and ordering my footsteps and mapping out my Journey.
How to become servant Leader
The most important aspect of leadership is to serve others by thinking about their needs, recognising their needs, and supporting efforts to meet their needs. However, the main characteristic of servant leadership comes from loving one other. Jesus leadership style is the opposite of worldly leaders we hear about today. Leaders today use their authority for personal gains whilst manipulating others, which is similar leadership attributes of the Gentiles in the bible.
And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great one’s exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10: 42-45)
As Children of the highest, we learn from the best leader who is our Lord Jesus, who served relentlessly in every position He inspired so many people to be like Him. We need to do the same in every area of our life, be it in our church, employment, or voluntary community setting. As believers of God, we believe that we are more alive in Christ when we serve and bring glory and honour to Him. When we serve, we bring God’s kingdom culture to life, we shine the light on every corner and eradicate darkness around us.
I want you to remember that God sees all your hard work done in secret and will surely reward you.
"For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
If you found yourself in a serving role, embrace it with joy and happiness. Do not despise small beginnings because the small beginnings are where the foundation of success is laid. The small beginning is humbling and refreshing because of the work God is doing in you. Remember that God is working through you for good. However, if you find yourself in a leading position, God wants you to be humble and serve those under your leadership. Use your position to bless others and lead them to God. Let your character and behaviour win souls for God. Let people see Christ in you and God’s light shine through when you are around them.
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men ( Philippians 23-8)
It is also important to obey and respect your leaders as Jesus commanded us to do “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Hebrews 13:17)
So ask yourself will the people we pay less regard and attention to in this world be the most popular people in eternity. The vulnerable people we pay less attention to due to their circumstances in this world may very well be our celebrity in an eternity to come. You may never know until eternity. Let us keep loving, caring, and serving others, knowing that we are doing the will of God and we will be rewarded with peace and eternal life.
How can you reach people in need?
How are you serving others in your community?
Have you spoken to anyone this week about God?
Help an elderly neighbour with shopping/cleaning/ pick up their prescription from Chemist.
Prayer time Dear Heavenly Father, please help me to pay careful attention to myself and to all the flock, in which the holy spirit has made me to oversee, to care for the church of God, which He obtained with His own blood, in Jesus name Amen.
Written by Juliet Ahanonu