Servant Leadership

 

Lead By ExampleI’ve experienced this “different style of leadership” recently. It is a leadership style that puts the person leading in a role that seeks to serve the very people he/she is charged with leading. It is way different than the standard “dictatorial leadership” that I’ve seen the most often over the years. This style of leadership features a leader with empathy, understanding, boldness, gentleness, love, respect & competency all wrapped up in one person. I see servant leadership as investing. I also see servant leadership “coming alongside” instead of “top down” barking orders. Servant leaders are not necessarily “push-overs” either. Servant leaders are on a mission that is crystal clear to them. They have a different road map to get the job done and they seem to enjoy the journey while leading.

I came across a passage of scripture that I’ve noticed many times before, but I saw it a bit differently this morning. Jesus knows that His time here on earth as a human teacher is just about up. He is getting ready to have dinner with His team of leaders/disciples one last time before He’s betrayed. Check this out…

12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. 14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.16 I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. 17 Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.

34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:12-17; 34-35 NLT)

Servant leaders lead by example.

Servant leaders care about the people they are charged with leading.

Servant leaders create excellent culture in the place they are charged with leading.

Servant leaders create a “serving culture” with their company’s clients & customers.

Servant leaders bring empowerment to their team by example and investment.

Jesus set the example of servant leadership. He came to serve instead of being served, yet He was the “highest ranking individual” on the planet. I am inspired to lead like this. I am more of a “door holder” than a “door mat”. I want to motivate and inspire others to lead by serving. My career as a REALTOR is really a servant leadership profession. I should never approach my clients/friends and customers with a “know-it-all” attitude, but rather a teaching/serving spirit. I think any workplace and profession benefits and excels under servant leadership.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Selfish & Self-Centered

 

I like myself for the most part. If I could change some physical features to improve my appearance, I would take care of that. I like myself better some days rather than others. If all I cared about was me, I wouldn’t have my beautiful family. When I became a Dad over 30 years ago, I became less selfish at that time more than any other time. Children are born completely dependent on their parents for everything it seems. I have developed a love for children and I will sacrifice anything and everything I have for them. It’s almost automatic. I would give up my life to save any one of my children.  With all of that said, I am still selfish. I still like what I like when I like it. I like my routines. I like the last piece of cake. I like things to go my way. I want my kids to love me. I am a bit selfish and self-centered after all.

I came across this passage in Philippians right before Paul describes Jesus’ attitude so thoroughly and poetically. He speaks to humility and selfish ambition and I felt “smacked around” a bit. Check this out…

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4 CSB)

I saw a two “absolutes” in this passage…

Nothing – no exceptions

Everyone – that’s really everyone – not just people I know and like

I still struggle with selfish ambition and conceit. I am learning that when I serve others, I end up being blessed beyond words. Zig Ziglar used to say: “If you help enough people get what they want, then you’ll get what you want.” Serving others is thinking about them and honoring them. Serving others is putting their interests in front of my interests. Serving others is making them more important than me.

It’s easy to serve people I know and like. It’s the jerks that drive me nuts. I don’t like serving jerks, but if I’m not careful I can become one. If I learn to serve even the jerks and “smart-mouthed” people, I’m growing to be more like Jesus. He was the perfect example of humility. I recently confronted another person as gently as I knew about how they were talking to me and treating me – I was really frustrated. I felt like the Lord helped me make a friend out a person who was being a bit of a jerk. This is not easy and I still don’t have it down pat, but I do want to serve others because as a Christ follower, I’m called to do that. It’s not optional – it’s a command and a part of His DNA. If I want to be more like Jesus, it starts with humility and serving.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

I Want What I Want – NOW!

 

Cute children smiling at camera on white backgroundI really that think that most people, (certainly including me), want what we want WHEN we want it. I don’t like being told I couldn’t have something that I want. I have learned over the years, that just because I can’t have something don’t mean my life will end. I grew up in a family with 5 kids. We did not always get what we wanted. I remember as a kid wanting a mini-bike. This is small motor cycle that as I could ride over the hills or down the road in the little town I grew up in. My best friend had one and I wanted one too. I dreamed about having a mini bike. I coveted my friend’s mini bike. I survived that huge disappointment. As I grew older and learned the value of money, I realized that my parents did the best they could with the resources they had. My kids have wanted stuff over the years for Christmas that either I couldn’t afford to give them or I knew was not safe or healthy for them. I would have probably killed myself on a mini bike anyway.

As a grown man, I still want what I want when I want it. The scale of things I want are a bit different than a mini bike – the price tags are quite a bit more. I want more money than I have for sure, but I’ve learned that if I love money too much, it can destroy me. I heard a guy say one time that He wished the Lord would trust him enough to see if he could handle being rich beyond his wildest dreams.

King Ahab had this same disease of selfishness. He wanted a vineyard that was close by the palace. He approached the man named Naboth and asked to trade for his vineyard or buy it a market price. Naboth didn’t want to sell. Check this out…

3 But Naboth replied, ‘The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my ancestors.’

4 So Ahab went home, sullen and angry because Naboth the Jezreelite had said, ‘I will not give you the inheritance of my ancestors.’ He lay on his bed sulking and refused to eat.

5 His wife Jezebel came in and asked him, ‘Why are you so sullen? Why won’t you eat?’

6 He answered her, ‘Because I said to Naboth the Jezreelite, “Sell me your vineyard; or if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard in its place.” But he said, “I will not give you my vineyard.”’

7 Jezebel his wife said, ‘Is this how you act as king over Israel? Get up and eat! Cheer up. I’ll get you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.’ (1 Kings 21:3-7 NIV)

Jezebel conspired against Naboth and had him falsely accused of cursing God and the King – he was taken outside the city and stoned until death. She then tells Ahab to go take possession of the vineyard. This vile behavior did not escape God’s attention. He sent Elijah to call them out and tell them of their impending punishment for their wicked behavior.

I’m so thankful that the Lord is patient with me and my self-centered attitude. The more I get to know Him, the less selfish I tend to be. He is the epitome of a self-less person. The Lord set an example of service NOT being served. He is the Son of God and certainly could have been served, but He came to serve. I believe pride and selfishness is one of the number one roadblocks that keep my heart hard. If I really take a step back, I realize that the person who cut me off in traffic doesn’t know me personally. I can’t possibly expect that the world will revolve around my schedule and me. I can act like Ahab and moan or groan. I could even go back to bed sullen and angry. I need to filter my wishes and wants through the eyes of The Lord. I expect my list of wants and wishes will get edited and become much smaller.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

A Different Kind Of King

 

A Crown Of ThornsRoyal Gold CrownAs I look at other cultures and see their governance, I’m intrigued by “kings, queens and their children” – aka known as royalty. By very nature of being born into a particular family, they become heir to the throne or simply have continued access to the throne. One of our favorite family movies is The Princess Diaries where a young teenager from San Francisco becomes the Queen because she’s of royal blood. I think on one hand it would be cool to have that royal blood line and live in a castle with servants and have unlimited resources – but on the other hand there would be a sense of captivity in that position.

Zechariah tells Israel and Judah that they have a King that is coming and He will be different than their other kings. Check this out….

9 Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!

    Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!

See, your king comes to you,

    Righteous and victorious,

Lowly and riding on a donkey,

    On a colt, the foal of a donkey.

10 I will take away the chariots from Ephraim

    and the war-horses from Jerusalem,

    and the battle-bow will be broken.

He will proclaim peace to the nations.

    His rule will extend from sea to sea

    and from the River to the ends of the earth. (Zechariah 9:9-10 NIV)

This King will not live in a castle.

This King will reside in the hearts of everyone who welcomes Him.

This King will not tax and govern with force.

This King will govern with love, mercy and grace.

This King knows me personally – really knows me…even my thoughts.

This King loves me enough to give His life for mine.

This King wants to win my allegiance by His mere Presence.

Jesus came to earth in humility. He set up a different kind of kingdom. He didn’t come to overthrown Rome. He came to overthrow a value system and culture that said I have to be first. He made the first become last and the last become first. The greatest in His Kingdom is the servant NOT the one being served.

As I continue to surrender to the King of Kings, my values become His values…My heart yearns for the things His heart yearns for. He continues to change my perspective on world events and my daily choices. He has quite literally changed everything. He’s my King – Jesus.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Humble Pie

Hands folded in prayer over open russian Holy Bible on black backgroundI have had my taste of “humble pie” over the years. You know that piece of pie that reminds you that “you’re not all that”. The taste of it is a bit shocking at first, but then it really is not so bad. After tasting humble pie, something happens to my perspective. I can really see life from a different angle. As a believer it’s important that humble pie become part of my regular diet.  Jesus speaks to this and calls out the religious pomp and pride. Check this out….

9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.(Luke 18:9-14 NIV)

From what I can tell, Humble Pie has no calories. It is actually quite nutritious.  If I choose to make it part of my regular diet, then I can have some control over when I take it in. If I choose not to eat it, someone might very well slip it in my regular diet when I least expect it.

I think the part of this simple story that stirs my heart the most is when Jesus speaks about humbling myself. If I learn to eat humble pie as part of my regular diet, my arrogance and ego will remain in check. I will realize that without the Lord – I’m nothing. With Him I have incredible strength and value.  I must be careful that my humility does not become an arrogant badge of honor in itself. Servant leadership defines greatness in God’s world.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

King

Royal Gold CrownI remember as a kid studying the kings and the way they ruled. I studied the royalty that went with the position. Their life as a king was not that easy in some ways. The kings were in constant fear of their life. They weren’t sure who they could trust and who had their best interest at heart. The King was the male ruler of an independent state or country.

In the book of  Zechariah, the prophet foretells the coming of a different King and Kingdom. Check this out….

9 Rejoice greatly, people of Jerusalem!

    Shout for joy, people of Jerusalem!
Your king is coming to you.

    He does what is right, and he saves.

    He is gentle and riding on a donkey,

    on the colt of a donkey.
10 I will take away the chariots from Ephraim

    and the horses from Jerusalem.

    The bows used in war will be broken.
The king will talk to the nations about peace.

    His kingdom will go from sea to sea,

    and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth. (Zechariah 9:9-10 NCV)

This is how Jesus came into Jerusalem for the last time often referred to as “The Triumphal Entry”.  Jesus is a different sort of King and the people didn’t know quite what to do with a King who didn’t rule with force and legislation. Jesus came to establish a Kingdom that from the ground up is very, very different. In His Kingdom, the servant is the highest position. His Kingdom is about peace. His Kingdom is a Kingdom of Grace and Mercy.

A Crown Of ThornsThis passage also reminded me that this world is not my eternal home. The King is coming back again some day. If He doesn’t come during my lifetime, I will still spend eternity with Him. His Kingdom here pours out the Abundant Life in preparation for Eternal Life.  When King Jesus came to earth, He brought LIFE! He brought HOPE! He brought PEACE! He did it NOT by ruling, but by serving. He did it by LOVE and not by LAW!

I’m grateful to serve a King like that! I serve other at the request of my King! I’m glad He came once and I’m glad He’s coming again! Until then – I will serve Him by serving others!

Pressing On!
Dwayne