What ever happened to servant leadership – that amazing leadership modelled by Christ? Where are the leaders that give of themselves altruistically for the good of the people they lead? If we reflect on history, some of the most incredible leaders were those with a humble sense of servanthood. Gandhi, Mandela … you fill in the gaps with people who come to mind.
I see Servant leadership in some church leaders, business and school leaders but it seems a quality that modern politics has squeezed out of its participants. In recent years there has been a scandal in the UK in which more than a few MPs used the system to feather their own nests. Australia has seen its fair share of arrogant and obnoxious behaviour where the good of the people being served has hardly been considered. The current election fervor in the US is anchored in hubris, arrogance and self aggrandisement.
No one event (outside of the cross) highlights the opposite of this attitude more than Jesus washing his disciples feet in John 13. Jesus challenges his disciples, and us, by saying,” I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” This humble act is a metaphor for Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice but also for the attitude he calls us to take. To be Christ like has no room for arrogance, self service, pretension and conceit
The question that I am left with, is, how do we encourage servant leadership in our narcissistic age? The people Jesus left behind, the church – that is the body of Christians (I am not speaking of denominations etc.) – are called to be Christ modellers. The world around us needs to see what it looks like. So where does it start? With us.
PS If there is a servant leader who has inspired you (local, national or international – past or present), I would love to hear about them.