THE ORIGIN OF A SERVANT LEADER

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Leadership is very much a Biblical concept. Right from the Old testament where God chose people like Abraham, Moses, the judges, kings and prophets to lead and show the way, to the New Testament times where the apostles and the leaders in the church faithfully carried out God’s mission, the Bible is replete with stories of leaders who served well. Christians who believe that leadership of any form is evil and that the movement of the church should be left to the random inspiration that believers receive, are a minority and should not expect anything but a chaotic action that often accomplishes little.

What needs to be studied though is the Biblical prescription for leadership, because the leadership that is evident in the world and unfortunately, often in the church is a form of leadership that is very alien to what the Bible teaches. It is in this context that in Christian vocabulary, the term ‘servant leader’ often arises. The next few posts will outline what servant leadership comprises as we look at Isaiah 42 and study references to God’s servant, these references ultimately finding perfect fulfillment in the life of Jesus, the Lamb of God, who remains the role model for a servant leader.

“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).

God’s statement here points to the fact that servant leadership begins when you become a servant of the Lord. For leadership to be effective, there is no other way. The statement in Isaiah makes it clear that the Lord’s servant is one who is chosen by God and in whom God delights. The picture is one of a parent delighting in his child wherein a parent-progeny relationship exists. It is a relationship where God, the father, loves the person and the latter responds by trusting and obeying God.

This sort of a relationship is readily understood by one who has gone through the regenerating experience of being saved by Jesus. Ironic as it sounds, the church today is crippled by several leaders who are not regenerated and who while familiar with Christian tradition have not been saved. They do not have the experience of being chosen by God and being endowed with the presence of the Holy Spirit. Servant leadership has not even begun in such a scenario.

The Christian life cannot begin but by a conscious decision to repent and receive the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for our sins. That miraculous moment also ushers in the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God who enables the Christian to connect with God and live for Him. At that moment, the Christian makes a lifetime commitment to be a servant of the Lord. And everyone who goes through that experience also takes the first step to be a servant leader, a light set upon the hill, bringing God’s refreshing message of hope and peace to all around him.

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