For today, I would like to share a lesson that the Lord put in my heart about leadership. Too many times people have a wrong understanding on leadership. I used to be one of those people. As a former Marine Staff Sergeant, I dedicated my adult life to building up others. However, as I gained higher ranks and leadership billets, I had others serve me. This is a widespread problem with people in many managerial positions. So, I would like to share a lesson from Jesus to give you a distinct perspective on what true leadership is.
But 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 become your slave. 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,” (Matthew 20:25-28, NLT).
Before I go further into this devotional, I would like to provide a little bit of background information to clarify this scripture. John and James were trying to grab the top positions under Jesus. All the disciples wanted to be the greatest (Matthew 18:1). However, Jesus taught the disciples that the greatest person in the kingdom of God is one who is a servant to all. Authority is given for useful service to God and humanity. Authority is not given to those who want it for respect, personal ambitions or self-gratification.
Jesus was teaching not only his disciples, but all of us a unique perspective on leadership. Instead of using people for your own gain, we are to serve others. The more authority you gain, the more you should serve those you are accountable to; and those you are accountable for. A real leader must have a servant’s heart! They appreciate others and realize that they are not above anyone or any job. Servant leaders act on initiative and do what needs to be done before being asked. Servant leaders realize that they are given authority to improve the kingdom of heaven and not their earthly positions.
There is another important lesson in these scriptures that I would like to bring to light. In verse 28, Jesus is telling his disciples why he must die. Prior to this, Jesus mentioned multiple times that he must die, however, this was the first time he mentioned why. To fully understand they why, we must understand the words Jesus spoke. A “ransom” was something that someone had to pay to release a slave from bondage. Jesus’ disciples believed if Jesus was alive he could save them. With his words, Jesus clearly told them that only his death can save them and all humanity.
The reason why I wanted to share this with everyone is because we should focus on leadership as Jesus did. It was not until I understood these scriptures that I could realize my views on leadership were unbecoming. Sometimes we too must pay a “ransom” to take care of those you have authority over. Can you do this? This is a question that only your heart can answer and not your mouth. We are to emulate Jesus not only for his glory, but for his suffering too.
I pray that this devotional helps someone today. Please have a blessed day!