THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
THE SCRIBES AND THE WIDOW
Today’s gospel reading (Mk 12:38-44) teaches us about
servant leadership. It gives us a DON’T and a DO, with
many ramifications on how we serve God and others.
First, Jesus denounces the scribes, who look to trappings
of authority, and being acclaimed and recognized (v.38), who
look to prestige and being honored (v.39), but prey on those
they serve, while making a pretense of spirituality to cover
up their wrong acts (v.40).
what are the things that a servant leading is NOT to do?
Look to the wrong P’s as one’s motivation for
service: power, position, prestige, perks and pay.
to being acclaimed, or even aspire for Church or secular
unduly protective of one’s reputation.
to always being affirmed or acknowledged in one’s
undue advantage of those one serves (borrowing money, using
their time and resource for one’s personal benefit,
and so on).
a pretense of one’s spirituality.
Second, Jesus affirms the widow, who put in two small coins
into the temple treasury, versus the many rich people who
put in large sums. Jesus said that the “poor widow put
in more than all the other contributors to the treasury”
(v.43). Why? “For they have all contributed from their
surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed
all she had, her whole livelihood.” (v.44).
What does this teach us about what a servant leader is to
serve, knowing that everyone has something to offer in serving
God, no matter how seemingly menial according to worldly
not be overly concerned about so-called performance, for
it is not what one is able to accomplish that is important,
but what one puts into the effort in his service. Know that
it is up to God to provide the fruit. We simply need to
be available to become His instruments.
willing to make a sacrifice in serving, even giving out
of one’s poverty of resources, even depriving oneself
of what he can justifiably use up for himself.
that if one honors the Lord and His work, then the Lord
will be the one to take care of his needs. The Lord is never
outdone in generosity.
The world extols leaders who are like the scribes, while ignoring
or putting down those who are nobodies in society like the
poor widow. Worldly leadership looks to high positions of
power and authority, while servant leadership looks to taking
the lowest place, to serve and not to be served, to being
last while putting others first.
the true Christian, whether in service in the Church or in
secular society, there is only one way--that of Jesus, and
that of the poor widow.
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Servant Leadership (Part 12) [PDF]