THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
BEING A SERVANT LEADER - 2
Today’s gospel: Matthew 20:17-28
Jesus asks James and John, “Can you drink the cup that
I am going to drink?” (v.22b). To which they answered,
“We can.” (v.22c). They did not understand then
(v.22a) and many servant leaders today still do not understand.
They are still looking to pride, power and position. They
think that what Jesus is asking is this: “Can you drink
the piña colada at the Country Club?”
is the cup that Jesus would drink? “Behold, we are going
up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to
the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him
to death, and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and
scourged and crucified” (v.18-19a). Jesus tells us,
especially those who seek to serve him, to follow him. All
the way to the cross.
follow and serve Jesus, who is the suffering servant and not
a secular ruler. What is the posture of the latter? “You
know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and
the great ones make their authority over them felt.”
(v.25). Such a leader is not a servant but a lord. Such a
leader is one who looks to pride, power and position.
Jesus tells them about true leadership. “Rather, whoever
wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever
wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.” (v.26b-27).
The greatest is the least. The first is the last. The leader
is the servant. Such is the antidote to pride, power and position.
It is humility, service and lowliness.
whom we look to as Lord and Master and King, “did not
come to be served but to serve” (v.28a). He is the leader
but he made himself the servant of all. He did not look to
pride, power and position, but rather emptied himself and
gave all, including “his life as a ransom for many.”
(v.28b). That is true servant leadership.
Is it all then about suffering, pain and the cross? It is
indeed about those. “My cup you will indeed drink”
(v.23a). But it does not end there. Jesus would suffer, but
he would “be raised on the last day.” (v.19b).
The mother of James and John asked Jesus, “Command that
these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other
at your left, in your kingdom.” (v.21b). She looked
to earthly pride, power and position. This Jesus could not
give (v.23b). But we too, like Jesus, will be raised. It is
then that we can sit at Jesus’ right and left in the
Kingdom of heaven, as we are given the reward and the glory
reserved “for those for whom it has been prepared by
my Father.” (v.23c).
Jesus calls you to servant leadership. You will have to answer
two questions of Jesus: “What do you wish?” (v.21a);
“Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?”