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Servant Leadership in Isaiah Part I

I'm getting ready to depart for Rome later today and will be in Europe for a little more than two weeks.  During that time, I thought I would pass along some Bible study I've been doing in the book of Isaiah on the topic of servant leadership. 

"Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations” (Isaiah 42:1).

1. Servant-leaders don’t serve themselves.  They always serve someone or something outside themselves.  In the case above, God calls the servant leader “my” leader.  In addition to serving God, servant-leaders serve the vision or mission of the organization they lead. 

2. Servant-leaders also serve the people with whom they work.  Their delight comes from seeing people fulfilled and work accomplished in an atmosphere of peace.  Servant-leaders are truly servants, therfore, serving the God over them, the vision to which they are called and the people who follow them and the vision.

3. Servant-leaders are concerned with justice according to this verse. What is justice?  I think it’s fair and equitable treatment for all people according to common-sense standards.  As a servant leader would like to be treated, so they treat others. 

4. This requires that the servant-leader understand what motivates people, which of course is different from person to person.  What is just for one may not be fair and just for another.  At the same time, there need to be policies that allow everyone the chance to have input into what work will be done, how it will be done, and how they will be compensated.

QUESTION:  A servant is concerned with justice.

How do you define justice in the position you are in at present?

What injustice exists that you see and would like to correct?

Feel free to add your answer to these questions or any other comments concerning servant leadership on the site where this entry is posted.  I'll try to keep you posted on my travels, but my access to the Internet may be limited.



Hi Dr J,
My concern with such an individualistic definition of justice is that it is so subjective. To use an extreme example, the Taleban and the militias in Afghanistan and Iraq respectively see justice done when their next victim is decapitated or blown up in a car bomb. But is this justice? I believe that just as with the word 'truth', there has to be a universal definition of justice. There must however be individual application of justice, and maybe that is what you meant to say. Let me throw another curve ball. I also believe that justice is a spiritual thing that cannot be fully explored and understood from a mere human perspective. In the old testament when God gave the Israelis the order to exterminate whole peoples in their onward advance to the promised land - was this just or fair? Yet in the overarching purpose of God, it had to be just and fair, for God sees and knows all things. So we may not fully understand justice until we stand before God at the end of time.
One more thing. In today's increasingly secularized and agnostic society, many issues are arising where the concensus of popular view would be to say that justice is done. For example, is it justice for a severely abused spouse to kill her husband in one flash of 'temporary insanity'? Many would say that it is. These are just some issues to think about. Thanks.

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