Pope Benedict XVI made news recently when he decided to resign from his post. There are a number of opinions on this event ranging from behind the door scandals to end time prophecies. But Pope Benedict has been a popular pontiff not only among Catholics but also among evangelicals for his orthodoxy and focus on evangelism.  Taking the announcement at face value, the most prominent Christian leader in the world and one of the most powerful men on the planet had just announced his decision to do what a pope did not have to do. In humility, with no one but God to answer to and of his own volition, he cited human frailty as a reason to step down from the papacy. The last time a voluntary papal resignation happened was in the 13th century when after reigning for 5 months, the saintly Celestine V stepped down from the papacy, choosing to return to a hermit’s life.

Isaiah elaborates on a servant leader’s attitude,

‘He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets’ (Isaiah 42:2).

Secular leadership comes easily to those who shout the loudest and dominate others.  A leader for God on the other hand is one who in humility remains quiet and unassuming. There is no publicity or self-promotion as he does what God has asked him to do. Yet his quietness is not to be mistaken for weakness as he wields great power in the spiritual realm to control the physical world around him.

‘He will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth’ (Isaiah 42:4).

A servant leader perseveres till the end with the single-minded objective of accomplishing what the Lord has entrusted him with. He will not allow discouragement or disappointment that is inevitable to sway him from the path of establishing God’s will, which alone is reflective of true justice on earth.

‘—in faithfulness he will bring forth justice’ (Isaiah 42:3).

He will be faithful to what has been entrusted to him. Using the gifts God has given him and putting the resources at his disposal to work, he will strive to reveal God’s nature and his justice with the objective of honoring only God and no one else.

And as he does that, no tradition is too strong to put aside, no worldly position too good to cling on to, no ego too high to stoop before God and no privilege too great to put aside. In the attitude of humility, we see the best of servant leadership.


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