THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
UNITY AND PEACE - 6
Unfortunately, most conflicts in Christian community are caused
by leaders. At its essence, it is a failure in servant leadership.
captures the essence of servant leadership: “If anyone
wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant
of all.” (Mk 9:35). The leader is the first but the
servant is the last. The leader is the servant.
was difficult for the apostles to grasp. How could they even
think that the expected Messiah would not be a victorious
King but a suffering servant? Jesus told them about his coming
passion. “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men
and they will kill him” (Mk 9:31b). How could that be?
And so “they did not understand the saying” (Mk
9:32a). Further, “they were afraid to question him.”
(Mk 9:32b). Were they afraid to hear the truth about true
despite what Jesus was teaching them, “they had been
discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest.”
(Mk 9:34b). This is the way it is with many leaders in the
Church, as they look to power, authority, position, being
acclaimed, insisting on their own views, etc.
so to help them understand, Jesus took a child and placed
it in their midst (Mk 9:36a). Then, he told them, “Whoever
humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom
of heaven.” (Mt 18:4). In Jewish society the child took
the lowest place. Just like a servant or a slave. As such,
this teaching of Jesus was very radical. But such speaks about
the proper posture of a servant leader.
conflicts in community oftentimes starts with leaders. There
are leaders who stand on their positions of authority and
power and advance their own selfish ambitions. Then there
are leaders who look at those in power and authority and envy
them, and start to work on their own upward movement. At some
point they come into conflict with others and cause disunity
in the community. “For where jealousy and selfish ambition
exist, there is disorder and every foul practice.” (Jas
talks about the causes of division. “Where do the wars
and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not
from your passions that make war within your members? You
covet but do not possess.” (Jas 3:1-2a). Leaders or
members envy those in positions of power and authority which
they do not have, and they end up causing strife and conflicts.
They then end up at war with each other, tearing each other
what is the proper posture of servant leaders? It is not to
be wise according to the world, as “wisdom of this kind
does not come down from above but is earthly, unspiritual,
demonic.” (Jas 3:15a). Such worldly wisdom that seeks
power and position is not only unspiritual but demonic! It
causes conflicts which brings strife and disunity, which greatly
hampers God’s work. Such can only come from the devil.
however we look to God, then we see that “the wisdom
from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant,
full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity.”
(Jas 3:17). Such virtues are what are needed in order to prevent
strife and conflicts, even as there might be disagreements
Pure. Maintain purity of heart. Desire only to serve, and
only to give glory to God. Have no selfish ambitions. Die
Be peacemakers. Respond to disagreements with grace, patience,
a reasonable degree of tolerance. Do not see your brother
as an enemy.
Be gentle as a loving parent. While standing for God’s
righteousness, be flexible in dealing with whose who are
still needing to grow in maturity.
Comply with all the ways of God and the directions of elders
in community. Give respect and deference to those over you.
of mercy. Be merciful to those who fall short of God’s
righteousness. Recognize their struggles. Be quick to forgive.
inconstancy. Be someone whom God and elders can rely on.
Be a steady and committed man of God.
insincerity. Be sincere in speech and action. Desire only
what will benefit the work of God and not oneself.
Our call is to holiness. We in community are all journeying
together. We help each other, and servant leaders are there
to pastor and care for the flock. Leaders are servants and
peacemakers. Peace and unity enable all of us to move on to
holiness. “And the fruit of righteousness is sown in
peace for those who cultivate peace.” (Jas 3:18).
servant leaders find themselves no longer working at peace,
if they begin to argue with each other in ways that result
in strife and disunity, they should pause, pray, and consider
the Master calling them to task. “What were you arguing
about on the way?” (Mk 9:33b).
us get back to what true servant leadership is. Being last
not first. Being the least not the greatest. Being a servant
and not a lord. Being not self-referential but totally unselfish
and self-giving. Being a peacemaker rather then an instigator
of strife and disunity. Being a man of God and not an ally
of the evil one.
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