TAKING THE LOWEST PLACE – 2

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP

(Part 119)

TAKING THE LOWEST PLACE – 2

October 2, 2016

Today’s readings:

2 Timothy 1:6-14

Luke 17:5-10

There are few authentic servant leaders among those who serve in the Church as leaders. It is easy enough to serve, but very hard to be a servant leader. One of the most challenging aspects of leadership is being a servant.

A most basic element in being a servant is precisely just that–one is a servant. The context is in the times of Jesus. A servant then was just a slave who had no rights. He simply served the master, even without rest or without having eaten (Lk 17:7-8). He did not have to be thanked for his work (Lk 17:9). He had nothing to brag about, had no illusion of entitlement, but simply worked because that was what was expected. “So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’” (Lk 17:10).

This is so different from many leaders today. They look to position and power. They feel entitled to their position. They complain of too much work or too little appreciation. They expect to be thanked. They expect to be served. They are possessive of their entitlements. They cannot handle oppression and rejection. They are not humble enough to accept their lowly position as servant.

A servant leader needs to see that the One whom he serves allowed himself to be laid low. Jesus is the model. If a servant leader cannot handle or accept rejection, suffering or oppression, with joy, he will end up acting in ways that project his leadership rather than his servanthood. Suffering is part and parcel of a lowly slave’s life. “On this account I am suffering these things; but I am not ashamed” (2 Tm 1:12a). Indeed, the authentic servant leader bears his marks of shame and suffering as a badge of honor.

*     *     *