THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
HUMILITY AND CONCERN
2 Corinthians 11:18-30
A primary virtue of a servant leader, because he is one who
looks on himself as a servant rather than a privileged leader,
is humility. Consider Paul, the great apostle. He was authentically
Jewish (2 Cor 11:22), as he was a Jew by race, religion and
promise. Moreover, he as minister of Christ suffered a great
deal for the cause (2 Cor 11:23-27), which authenticated his
call and became his badges of honor. But of all these, he
says, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that
show my weakness.” (2 Cor 11:30).
A servant leader must be impressed more by his shortcomings
and weaknesses than his accomplishments and capabilities.
He must consider how he can serve better rather than rest
on his laurels. He must not proudly look to human acclaim
but be in fear of not getting the acclaim of God.
not store up for yourselves treasures on earth” (Mt
6:19a). Earthly treasures include power, position, perks,
acclaim, recognition, honors, awards and the like. These are
fleeting and are of the world, “where moth and decay
destroy, and thieves break in and steal.” (Mt 6:19b).
You can be acclaimed today and vilified tomorrow. Your carefully-nurtured
reputation can be destroyed by liars, maligners and gossipers.
But good can come out of these painful situations, if it brings
us to humility, and to looking to what is truly of value.
“But store up treasures in heaven” (Mt 6:20a).
The only acclaim we should look to is God’s, when He
finally says, “Well done, good and faithful servant,
enter into your Master’s joy.”
The other important virtue of a servant leader is concern
for the flock. He has been appointed by God in order to care
for His sheep. Paul, despite all the hardships he faced, was
always mindful of the situation of God’s people. “And
apart from these things, there is the daily pressure upon
me of my anxiety for all the churches.” (2 Cor 11:28).
caring for God’s people, the servant leader is mindful
of the reality that there are not only many wolves and lions
seeking to devour the flock, but there are many inside the
Church who can also lead them astray. The enemy is not only
diabolical forces outside, but also the enemy within. These
are the false teachers and leaders who proclaim a different
gospel. “For you gladly put up with fools, since you
are wise yourselves. For you put up with it if someone enslaves
you, or devours you, or gets the better of you, or puts on
airs, or slaps you in the face.” (2 Cor 11:19-20).
are enslaved not just by cults but also when they relate to
leaders in blind obedience rather than active submission.
People are devoured when they accept false teaching or when
they are in effect driven out of the Church by wrong acts
of leaders. People are gotten the better of when leaders take
undue advantage of them (monetarily, sexually, with uncalled-for
favors, or the like). People put up with leaders who put on
airs when they adulate such posturing or even support it with
their applause. People are slapped in the face when they as
subordinates are not treated with dignity or when their concerns
or inputs are just ignored.
servant leader is mindful and concerned about the above and
strives to bring people out of such darkness and into God’s
light. God’s people need to see the vision and the mission
to which they are called. Without vision a people perish.
“The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound,
your whole body will be filled with light; but if you eye
is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light
in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.”
(Mt 6:22-23). If God’s people, not seeing clearly the
way to go, are in darkness, then they cannot effectively do
God’s work. Then the great darkness upon the world will
servant leader is concerned about the general well-being of
people placed under his care. “Who is weak, and I am
not weak? Who is led to sin, and I am not indignant?”
(2 Cor 11:29). Servant leadership is a call to give one’s
all, according to the example of the Master.
all the challenges and hardships of being an authentic servant
leader, how do we cope? We look at Jesus, who then looks to
us in our humility and poverty. “Look to him and be
radiant, and your faces may not blush for shame. This poor
one cried out and the Lord heard, and from all his distress
he saved him.” (Ps 34:6-7).