Silent Servants Are Leaders In The Kingdom
Right now, in a church nearby your residence, there is an elderly man spending his Saturday evening setting up chairs in preparation for tomorrow morning’s Sunday service. With each alignment of the newly-funded cloth-back chairs, he continues to pray for God’s Spirit to enter this place and for revival to breakout in his community. Just the day prior, a church’s part-time secretary decided to give the Senior Pastor’s sermon notes a second review. She’s glad she did because she noticed he didn’t set it up in his normal bullet point style. Knowing and working for him for the past 15 years, she’s realized that he, admittedly so, does his best preaching when his notes are prepped in an easy to ready bullet point alignment. Just outside of town, about an hour away, a college student just finished his final course exam before the semester ends and instead of taking the weekend off, he is now preparing to study for an upcoming Disciple Now (DNOW) weekend that his previous student pastor invited him to be a leader in. Lastly, a mom has her hands full, one grumpy child and two more running around the house like wild animals. She’s stressed out, but at the same time overjoyed at the opportunity to cook a twelve layer chocolate cake for this weekend’s women’s event.
It is in these familiar situations, along with countless other examples, that we are reminded of silent servants. The kind that would never desire to be called leader but serve in the way Christ has called us to live in our church, home, and life.
In the world today, the subject of “leadership” is one that is continually discussed, researched, sought after, and incessantly studied in order to better oneself, boost the productivity or morale of a company, or even to learn the healthy habits of some of the most successful entrepreneurs of the 20th century. Although the above pursuits are beneficial endeavors, a sad reality is that the concept of “servanthood” is quickly forgotten and put to the wayside whenever aspirations of being a successful leader are discussed. People pursue leadership for an array of reasons. Some for title and position, others for the opportunity to command. But I believe at the heart of it there is a bigger reason… one that we are called to fulfill.
From an evangelical standpoint, we know that God has called us to work as unto the Lord (Col. 3:23-34), while fulfilling the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20); thus, leading others to Christ as the only One who can reconcile us to God. God wholeheartedly desires for us to live this life through Him and for Him. He calls us to do this in every corner of our day-to-day life… work, school, family, church, and even when we’re all alone. However, we can’t do this unless we are thoroughly and routinely diagnosing any spiritual illness that may prevent us from living a close, tightknit relationship with our Lord, Jesus. Simply put, it’s a matter of the heart.
In connection with the subject of leadership, Jesus is arguably the greatest example of a servant’s mentality. Who could possibly disagree? However, when it comes to servant leadership there is a biblical character that is often overlooked by many Christians. When we hear the name Joshua, many are reminded of when God appointed him to succeed as leader of the Israelites (Jos. 1:1-9) when they prepared to go in and take the land that the Lord had promised to give them (Jos. 1:5). While God did appoint Joshua, He had been molding him to be a great leader in the months and years prior to his leadership in Israel’s conquest of Canaan. As we turn the pages of Scripture backward, we find a mid to late 20s Joshua shortly after God confirmed the Covenant with Moses on Mount Sinai (Exod. 24:12-18) and received the Ten Commandments. Joshua was present, silent, in the background, and taking it all in as he desired to serve and gain Godly wisdom. Not too long after, we meet young Joshua once again by Moses’s side, this time at the Tent of Meeting (Exod. 33:7-11). Each time Moses would meet with God, Joshua was there. In this particular instance, when it was over, Moses would leave but Joshua remained. Decades before he took leadership of Israel, Joshua would meet with God and with a humble heart lay the foundation that is required of any servant leader. Servant leadership begins with a desire to know God truly.
As believers, we should give our lives to serve Christ and lead in whatever arena of life the Lord has placed us. Not all of us will be in a leadership position like Joshua. However, serving is not for the intent of leading or obtaining position. If that is the case, we have forgotten that which we have already won. We must remember that as children of the living God were are already in the greatest leadership position this universe has to offer. No email signature, desk name plate, reserved parking spot or paycheck will ever outdo what Jesus Christ did on the cross of Calvary. To say it better than I ever could, the great Charles Spurgeon once quipped:
“The true shepherd spirit is an amalgam of many precious graces. He is hot with zeal, but he is not fiery with passion. He is gentle, and yet he rules his class. He is loving, but he does not wink at sin. He has power over the lambs, but he is not domineering or sharp. He has cheerfulness, but not levity; freedom, but not license; solemnity, but not gloom.”
Repent, serve, and lead for Christ alone.