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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
(Part 12)

THE SCRIBES AND THE WIDOW


November 8, 2009

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).

So 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.
  • Look to being acclaimed, or even aspire for Church or secular awards.
  • Be unduly protective of one’s reputation.
  • Look to always being affirmed or acknowledged in one’s service.
  • Take undue advantage of those one serves (borrowing money, using their time and resource for one’s personal benefit, and so on).
  • Make 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 DO?
  • Just serve, knowing that everyone has something to offer in serving God, no matter how seemingly menial according to worldly values.
  • Do 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.
  • Be 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.
  • Trust 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.

For 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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On Servant Leadership (Part 12) [PDF]
 
 
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