By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.
We live in a world obsessed with power. It seems just about everyone is trying to make their way to the corner office, to the top of their company's organizational chart, and even into the circles of influence at church. Yet Jesus said that the one who desires greatness must first become a servant (see Matthew 20:26). On one occasion, He even scooped up a toddler and said that true greatness comes from welcoming a small child in His name (see Luke 9:46-48)...not exactly a tactic for advancement covered by many leadership seminars today.
Jesus of Nazareth was God in skin, yet He never used His power to coerce people or manipulate them. Instead, He loved people. He served them. And finally, He died for them. Jesus didn't play the power game. He wasn't interested in being waited on by others. Instead, as He told His disciples, He "did not come to be served, but to serve" (Mark 10:45). Of course, Jesus' life and ministry was full of power, but His was of a kind not quite at home in this world.
After washing the feet of His disciples, Jesus said to them, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another,"(John 13:34-35).
Jesus rejected the world's definition of power. He did not seek power by manipulating and controlling people. He derived His power from God. He exercised that power through love. He extended His power to His followers and safeguarded that power against abuse by commanding His followers to love one another. A leader who loves His people will never manipulate or exploit them. He will seek only what is best for them.
Why do you think people were drawn to Jesus? How do you think His influence differed from that of the Jewish leaders of His day?
Prayer: God, help me to show my love for others in how I serve them. Bring to mind the ways that You have shown Your love for me, that I may incorporate Your ways into my leadership style. Craft my leadership gifts to reflect Your glory. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"The greatest among you will be your servant" (Matthew 23:11).