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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
(Part 132)

A SERVANT LEADER LIKE JESUS


“Lord, I am your servant”
(Ps 116:16a)

April 13, 2017
Today’s reading: John 13:1-15


Jesus did something remarkable at the last supper: he washed the feet of his apostles. It was so unthinkable that Peter objected vehemently. A Master would never do the work of a slave. But that is what Jesus did. He manifested authentic servant leadership.

Jesus was Master, Lord and God. He knew it and his disciples knew it. Jesus was “fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God” (v.3). But he chose to do the work of a slave, “to wash the disciples’ feet” (v.5b). Peter said: “You will never wash my feet.” (v.8a). Never. No way. Unthinkable.

Do we realize what this is all about? “Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am.” (v.12b-13). How could they realize such an incredible and unbelievable act? It simply was not done. A master was a master, and never acted as a slave.

But that is what Jesus did. And that is what we are supposed to do. “If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.” (v.14). You too are to serve one another. This is not dependent on the worthiness of the one being served. Jesus washed the feet of even Judas, whom he knew was going to betray him (v.2,11). And if you are called to be a leader, you are to be a servant leader.

But we often still misunderstand. We do not realize what it means to be a servant leader. Yes we serve, but we are focused on being a leader. Rather, we are to lead, but in doing so are mere servants. We are not the greatest but the least. Even as we are first, we take the last place.

You who are called to servant leadership, learn the lesson well. May we fully understand what this means, if not now then later. “What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later.” (v.7). We have been instructed by our Master. If we are to be worthy to be his servant leaders, we must obey. “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” (v.15).

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