[From the archives.]
Servant leader? Where’s that in the Bible?
The Bible talks of servant servants – that is, servants who serve other servants.
They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” (Mark 9:33-35.)
When I read or hear someone speak of servant-leadership it usually comes across more as an emphasis on the fact the person is the leader, and less of a description of a humble servant. Jesus’ teaching in Mark 9 focuses on the latter while his disciples were arguing about the former.
That’s why I am convinced that servant-leadership is unbiblical; it puts the emphasis on who’s in charge. Servant-servanthood is what Jesus taught:
- Stoop down to meet someone else’s need, like Jesus did when he washed his friends’ feet. (John 13:12-17.)
- Give yourself up for others, just as Jesus gave himself as a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:25-28.)
- Refrain from using your own power to overcome adversaries, even as Jesus did when he allowed himself to be arrested. (Matthew 26:52-54.)
This is what true servanthood looks like. It looks like Jesus.