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The Price of Leadership

A Purposeful Servant

I write about servant leadership because when you know your purpose, often you become a leader.  I don't always understand how or why, but I guess since you know where you're going, others want to follow.  Robert Greenleaf, father of the servant-leader message, once wrote:

The servant-leader is servant first.  It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve.  Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead.  The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant--first to make sure that other people's highest priority needs are being served. The best test [of servant leadership] is: do those served grow as persons; do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?  And what is the effect on the least privileged in society; will he or she benefit, or, at least, will he or she not be further deprived?

I have tried to use Greenleaf's words and concepts to evaluate my own leadership style.  Many times I have been found lacking as a servant but I am committed to learn and grow in my capacity as a servant leader.

Jesus was a servant and His service was the basis for His leadership.  Jesus was also a man of purpose.  By His own words, He came "to seek and save the lost" (Luke 19:10).  Being a servant with purpose, people followed Him and still do.  You may already know what your purpose is, but now may I ask: are you ready to serve?  Finding your purpose is one thing; learning to serve is something completely different. 

Service to others is what keeps a person of purpose humble and relevant.  It keeps you grounded in reality, the reality of where people live and what their real needs are.  While purpose focuses on self, service focuses on others.  A servant leader has a healthy balance of self-interest and selflessness.  Recently someone asked me if our purpose is always focused on others and I had to pause before I answered.  But then I responded, "Yes!"  If we were born to draw, build, sing or teach, we often do it for other people.  We get something from fulfilling our purpose, but we receive because we are giving.

Serving someone is an art, but only if you turn your back on your needs and serve the needs of others.  Jesus said that no man will serve two masters; that is true where service is concerned.  You can't do things for others the way you want them done; you must perform according to their needs and wishes.

If you are a person of purpose, are you a purpose servant?  Do others receive the best of your purpose efforts?  Why not make an effort to be a better servant this year?  You may want to obtain Greenleaf's book and study some of the servant-leader principles.  Think of what the world would be like if people of purpose made service their priority.  Think of what your world would be like if you were a better servant.  Make service your aim this year and make your purpose all that it is supposed to be as you meet the needs of others.

Comments

Shawn M Panosian

Yes! This is real Christian living. We must serve others. That is true leadership!

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