Christ’s Servant Leaders

Matthew 20: 20-28
2 Cor 4:7-15 / Ps 126

The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
(Matthew 20: 28)

Without personal ambition,
Christ’s leaders just abide and wait;
Hearts filled with purest intention,
Servanthood as their common trait.

The mother of James and John Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favour of him. And he said to her, ‘What do you want?’ She said to him, ‘Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.’ But Jesus answered, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?’ They said to him, ‘We are able.’ He said to them, ‘You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.’ When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’


The kind of leadership that our Lord Jesus taught has not always been the standard that the world recognizes as necessary to bring about success or profitability in the enterprise where it is employed. In most cases, the main motivation behind such a kind of leadership is personal gain or reward, where power is emphasized as the main ingredient, exactly the opposite of what our Lord taught and demonstrated.

At the last supper, Jesus showed His apostles what he meant when He stooped down and washed their feet, a service usually performed by the most menial servant in the house. Our Lord did this to show them (and us) that His leaders must have a servant attitude, expressing authentic humility in serving others that would inspire them to become servant leaders themselves. Therefore, unlike the world’s standard, the primary motivation of true leadership should be a strong desire to serve others.

The only way people can be motivated, inspired and empowered to serve others and become true leaders is by the example of their own leader’s character, integrity, dedication and humility. The growth and unity of a brotherhood or community may be affected if its members no longer believe that their leader possesses these leadership qualities. For instance, if the members discover that their leader has a weakness for any kind of gambling, or drinking, or a propensity for collecting pornographic materials, this will erode their trust and confidence in his leadership. The only thing that they can do is to pray for him to mend his ways.

Almighty Father, please send us the kind of leaders who are willing to sacrifice their personal interests for the good of our communities, and for the glory of Your kingdom here on earth. Amen.

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