THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
THE RIGHTEOUS LEADER
Today’s reading: Wisdom 12:13-19
God is the ultimate servant leader. Jesus was the Master but
he made himself the suffering servant. Jesus is the Good Shepherd
who cares for his flock. Today’s reading gives us some
traits of God that are helpful to our role as servant leaders.
We look to Jesus, and know that “neither is there any
god besides you who have the care of all” (v.13a).
basic trait of a servant leader is righteousness. God is the
righteous leader. “But as you are righteous, you govern
all things righteously” (v.15a). The servant leader,
called to holiness, should do all things righteously, reflecting
the very righteousness of God. How do we manifest righteousness
in our service?
again, we face the oxymoron that is “servant leadership.”
We are leaders but we are servants. We have power and position
but these are exercised for service. We are secure in our
authority and wield it for the good of the body. “For
you show your might when the perfection of your power is disbelieved;
and in those who know you, you rebuke insolence.” (v.17).
Those who dissent, who defy authority, who cause disunity,
are to be rebuked and corrected. At the same time, we are
not autocratic, but in fact can tend to leniency, to giving
much allowance, to understanding the shortcomings of our brethren.
“And with much lenience you govern us; for power, whenever
you will, attends you.” (v.18b).
such power is never abused. It is in fact such power in leadership
where we manifest our holiness. “For your might is the
source of righteousness” (v.16a). How?
We do not condemn without just cause. We make sure we “have
not unjustly condemned” (v.13b). We listen to people
who disagree or even gripe, without immediately judging
them dissident or divisive. We
make it known that we are open-minded and can be talked
do not wield power just to lord it over our brethren. “You
regard it as unworthy of your power to punish one who has
incurred no blame.” (v.15b). We consider no one in
community as our enemy. There is only one enemy, and that
is the evil one.
in fact bend backwards, trying to gently and lovingly bring
back a wayward subordinate. “Your mastery over all
things makes you lenient to all.” (v.16b). We are
like a father who disciplines his children, but also like
a mother who simply loves, reaching out and manifesting
care to all.
are kind and considerate. “Those who are righteous
must be kind” (v.19a). We speak authoritatively but
not autocratically. We are mindful of and concerned about
the shortcomings of people and give appropriate help and
counsel as needed. We do not give up on people, even though
at times we might have to give them space, even in their
are quick to forgive. We hold no grudges. “But though
you are master of might, you judge with clemency”
(v.18a). We rejoice when we are able to bring a brother
back to living community in peace and joy.
are always ready to welcome a repentant sinner back to the
fold. “And you gave your children reason to hope that
you would allow them to repent for their sins.” (v.19b).
Our subordinates are children that we care for. They are
always welcome to return to full fellowship of the family
that is community.
In looking to those who are below us, we always look to God
who is above us.