THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
THE SUFFERING SERVANT - 2
Today’s gospel: Luke 9:22-25
The task of a servant leader is difficult and demanding, especially
as we look to the ultimate servant leader, our Lord Jesus
Christ. We are his instruments, we do his work, we rely on
his strength .... and we suffer as he has suffered. Jesus
predicted his passion: “The Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the
scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.”
happened to Jesus was especially heartbreaking. It was not
just that he would be rejected and persecuted. That is expected
from the outside world that is under the dominion of the enemy
and is thus hostile to the faith and to divine values. But
it came from those who were inside the church, who were the
recognized leaders of the faith. Today those would be the
clerics, the parish leaders, the teachers of the faith and
the word, the moral theologians and lay community leaders.
They are today’s servant leaders.
people see leaders assaulting others within the Christian
community, by way of gossip, maligning, slander and the like,
or are themselves the victims, some of them will be disappointed
and disgusted, and may want to quit or give up their own service.
The better way is to endure and persevere, and be a force
for good. How can one endure? It is about the very essence
of discipleship. Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come
after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily
and follow me.” (v.23).
are three important elements here.
self-denial. A servant is not there in service to himself,
but only for God. He is not there for power, position, pay
or perks, but only because he is passionate for God’s
kingdom. If he looks to his own selfish interests, or his
own priorities or agenda, then God cannot really use him that
much. When he is able to deny self, then he also does not
look to safeguard his reputation, service position or influence.
If he is then rejected and persecuted, he remains steadfast,
because it is not about him, but about Jesus.
embrace of the cross. A servant is privileged to live the
life of Jesus, and that includes the difficulties and hardships
of mission. He is not there for comfort, convenience or acclaim,
but recognizes and is ready for the demands of serving Jesus,
the suffering servant. If he does not recognize or is not
ready to accept the life of hardship that is involved, then
God can only use him so much, because when trials come, he
can easily fall away. Rather then, he sees the cross as a
badge of honor, and when faced with it, takes it up and embraces
following Jesus. A servant has only one Master, and that is
Jesus. So a servant follows the Master, wherever he goes,
whatever he wants done, however it entails difficulties. He
does not follow mammon, or secular wisdom, or the clamor of
the crowd, or the convenience of the moment. If he does not
follow Jesus closely, if he does not keep his eyes fixed on
the Master who leads the way, he will lose his way. In following
Jesus, he is led all the way to the cross. So while along
that path, he is able to endure rejection and persecution.
such discipleship, and servant leadership, worth it, given
the attendant suffering and pain? Yes, definitely. It is the
only way to follow Jesus. It is the only path that is given
by God. It is the only sure key to eternal life. “For
whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever
loses his life for my sake will save it.” (v.24).