THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
THE LIFE OF A SERVANT LEADER
1 Timothy 1:1-14
A servant leader needs to be pure in heart, mind and spirit.
This is what enables him to love others, especially those
whom he serves. This “is love from a pure heart, a good
conscience, and a sincere faith.” (1 Tm 1:5).
getting there, one is brought by God through different stages.
God deals mercifully with us, bringing us from sin to righteousness.
Even the greatest sinners are dealt with in this way. Such
was Paul. “I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor
and an arrogant man, but I have been mercifully treated because
I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief.” (1 Tm 1:13).
Pride, blasphemy, persecuting Christians--can it get worse
than that? So no matter how sinful your life has been, you
can still receive God’s abundant mercy. You can meet
and know Christ.
once converted, God brings us into His very life. We are provided
the grace by which we can begin to live according to the ways
of Jesus. “Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant,
along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”
(1 Tm 1:14). We are brought to faith in Christ, and we begin
to live the love that is at the core of the Christian life.
We now live Christ.
God now uses us to be His servant and instrument of salvation
for others. As in the case of Paul, “he considered me
trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry.” (1 Tm
1:12b). We become ministers of Jesus himself. He entrusts
his work to us. That is indeed amazing. Great sinners like
us become servant leaders, “according to the glorious
gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.”
(1 Tm 1:11). We now share Christ.
can we cooperate with the Spirit of Jesus such that this process
of conversion and transformation will continue according to
we must “keep the Lord always before (us)” (Ps
16:8a). Jesus is the be-all and end-all of our life. “I
say to the Lord, you are my Lord, you are my only good.”
we must look only to the Lord for wisdom and knowledge. “I
bless the Lord who counsels me” (Ps 16:7a). We are servants
of God Himself. We are disciples of Jesus. “No disciple
is superior to the teacher” (Lk 6:40a). However, Jesus
allows us to get into his sandals so that we can continue
his very work. If we allow ourselves to be transformed, if
we allow Jesus to teach is his ways, then we can become other
Christs. So “when fully trained, every disciple will
be like his teacher.” (Lk 6:40b). Just make sure you
are not “wanting to be teachers of the law, but without
understanding either what they are saying or what they assert
with such assurance.” (1 Tm 1:7).
we must not be afraid and must rest secure in the Lord’s
care and protection. “With him at my right hand, I shall
never be shaken. .... my body also dwells secure” (Ps
16:8b,9b). God is our safe refuge amidst the storms of life.
We will be buffeted but never overcome. “Keep me safe,
O God, in you I take refuge.” (Ps 16:1b). God is our
strength. “I am grateful to him who has strengthened
me, Christ Jesus our Lord” (1 Tm 1:12a).
we must always maintain our joy. “Therefore my heart
is glad, my soul rejoices” (Ps 16:9a).
All the above are essential, because we do the work of Jesus.
Jesus brought sight to the blind. Servant leaders too are
used by Jesus to allow people, especially sinners, to see
the beauty of Christ and his gospel. But to do that, servant
leaders must be fully aware of Jesus’ teachings and
way of life. Otherwise, “Can a blind person guide a
blind person? Will not both fall into a pit?” (Lk 6:39).
Jesus condemned the Pharisees as hypocrites. They were very
strict in observance of the law, but their hearts were far
from God. The Pharisee condemned the publican, even when the
latter was the one commended by God. So too can servant leaders
fall into the trap of criticizing others while missing out
on their own shortcomings, perhaps even greater that that
of those they criticize. “Why do you notice the splinter
in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden
beam in your own?” (Lk 6:41). Jesus has harsh words
for such a one: “You hypocrite!” (Lk 6:42b).
curse of a servant leader is blindness--being blind to Jesus’
teachings, such that he guides subordinates on the wrong path,
and being blind to his own greater shortcomings than those
Servant leaders, always look to “grace, mercy, and peace
from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” (1 Tm
1:2b). Only in that way can you look forward not just to fruitful
service, but to a life of joy and blessings. “You will
show me the path to life, abounding joy in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.” (Ps 16:11).