THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
DRINKING THE CUP
2 Corinthians 4:7-15
The great failure in leadership in the Church is a failure
in servanthood. Many who serve simply bring in their worldly
understanding of leadership. Jesus pinpointed the problem:
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over
them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt.”
(Mt 20:25). This is perfectly natural in the world, but in
the Kingdom of God, it is a bane.
totally different is a leader in the secular world to that
of a servant leader in the Church? The former is to be great
and the first; the latter is a servant and a slave (Mt 20:26-27).
As such, a servant leader needs to shed the mindsets of the
world and put on the mind of Christ. “Just so, the Son
of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give
his life as a ransom for many.” (Mt 20:28). Christian
leaders will profess that they are there to serve, as indeed
they do serve. What will distinguish them as authentic servant
leaders will be the values that they embrace, and the Master
that they follow. That Master is a suffering servant.
is the cup that Jesus speaks about. “Can you drink the
cup that I am going to drink?” (Mt 20:22b). The authentic
servant leader will undergo sufferings and pain. And that
is actually the glory. That is what makes one worthy
to sit at Jesus’ right and left (Mt 20:21). That
is the embrace of the cross that the Master has embraced.
we drink the cup? Only by the grace and strength of God. “But
we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing
power may be of God and not from us.” (2 Cor 4:7). Jesus
endured the passion and came out victorious. So can we. “We
are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed,
but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor 4:8-9). This
actually is the great privilege of servant leadership, that
we walk in the very way of Christ. His death brought life.
We too, “always carrying about in the body the dying
of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested
in our body.” (2 Cor 4:10).
servant leadership is about serving the Master and doing his
work. An integral part of that is enduring the cross. “For
we who live are constantly being given up to death for the
sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested
in our mortal flesh.” (2 Cor 4:11). This is the key
to effective service, to being life-giving to those we serve.
“So death is at work in us, but life in you.”
(2 Cor 4:12).
servant leaders doomed to a life of misery? Not at all. The
ignominy of the cross is actually the nobility of the service.
The suffering and pain are actually the key to joy and effective
service. “Those who sow in tears will reap with cries
of joy. Those who go forth weeping, carrying sacks of seed,
will return with cries of joy, carrying their bundled sheaves.”
leadership is not an easy path to take. It is very challenging.
It is daunting. It demands a lot from those who are called.
But it is the only way to serve Christ. It is the only way
to be effective in becoming instruments of blessing for many
others. It is the only way for our service to result in giving
glory to God. “Everything indeed is for you, so that
the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may
cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.”
(2 Cor 4:15).
you drink the cup?