FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
AT PEACE WITH GOD AND BRETHREN
1 Timothy 2:1-8
The servant leader is appointed by God to care for His people.
As such he relates to both God and man. In his relationship
with God, he should be prayerful and holy. In his relationship
with brethren, he should strive to be at peace with all. “It
is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray,
lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument.” (1
do we achieve peaceful relationships with our brethren, so
that “we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion
and dignity” (1 Tm 2:2b)? This will happen when we pray
for one another, because doing so puts the persons we pray
for in our hearts, and as we lift them up to God, we desire
that God do the good that He does for His people. It happens
when we thank God for our brethren, which shows that we look
on them as God’s beloved children and gifts to us and
to our community. “First of all, then, I ask that supplications,
prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone”
(1 Tm 2:1).
brethren should also be praying for their leaders, “for
kings and for all in authority” (1 Tm 2:2a). This is
because how their leaders act and govern will determine their
own personal and spiritual well-being. When both leaders and
subordinates are praying for each other (but not imposing
their own selfish desires through their prayers), then there
will be peace and unity.
relationships, peace and unity are “good and pleasing
to God our savior” (1 Tm 2:3). Why? Simply because they
are the one body of Christ, and God is not divided or at war
with Himself. And because peace and unity are essential if
the body is to move forward as one to effectively accomplish
its mission. And what is that? It is to proclaim Christ and
bring people back to God and back to the Church. God “wills
everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.”
(1 Tm 2:4).
serving his brethren, the servant leader needs to be mindful
that Jesus “gave himself as ransom for all.” (1
Tm 2:6). When the apostles argued about leadership and glory
in the Kingdom, Jesus told them that the gentiles lord it
over those under them, but that such was not for the apostles.
For them, just as for him, he came not to be served but to
serve, and to give his life as a ransom. The servant leader
expends himself in order to help bring God’s people
to a deeper life in Christ.
How does the servant leader accomplish that difficult task?
They are supposed to lift up holy hands. They come before
the Lord in deep prayer, especially when their service becomes
challenging. “Hear the sound of my pleading when I cry
to you for help when I lift up my hands toward your holy place.”
(Ps 28:2). They are supposed to pray for their brethren and
be in right relationship with them, especially their subordinates.
When they pray, they are not to try to enlist God to impose
on the brethren, but to genuinely seek what is their good.
When they relate, they cannot be those “who speak peace
to their neighbors though evil is in their hearts.”
I said at the start, the servant leader is appointed by God
to care for His people. It is a hard task, but he must know
he is called, appointed and anointed by God, who would then
provide for his needs. And it is through him that God strengthens
His people. “Lord, you are a strength for your people,
the saving refuge of your anointed.” (Ps 28:8).
God does all these for His servant leaders, then they should
trust Him, rejoice in Him, and praise Him. “The Lord
is my strength and my shield, in whom my heart trusts. I am
helped, so my heart rejoices; with my song I praise him.”
God intends to bring His people to fullness of salvation,
ultimately bringing them to heaven. They are His people, the
sheep of His flock, but in this life, God assigns servant
leaders to be His instruments. If servant leaders pray, grow
in holiness, intercede for those under them, and work at peace
and unity, then they become instruments indeed that God can
use. Then, even as the task is very hard, they will not have
to bear the greater burden. With confidence they can look
to God and pray, “Save your people, bless your inheritance,
pasture and carry them forever!” (Ps 28:9).
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