Servant Leadership

Today’s Passage – John 12 – 13

“If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14)

When I was in Bible College, I worked for Super One Foods, a supermarket chain that operated in the Ark-La-Tex area. They had a philosophy for management that was not common for many companies that I had been associated with before. They believed that the managers should work alongside of the employees, instead of just directing them. I was eventually promoted to a grocery department manager, which basically meant that I was the overseer of the night stockers. In order to get that position I had to demonstrate that I could stock as well or better than the other men on the night crew. Once I received the promotion, I still had to stock along with the crew as much as I could. There was nothing that I expected them to do that I was not willing to do myself.

Jesus taught and lived servant leadership. He did not separate Himself from His disciples, except when He was praying privately with His Father. He lived with them, ate with them, ministered with them; and most importantly, He served them. Here in this passage, He is washing their feet. It is interesting that none of the disciples thought about washing each other’s feet. The water was there, the towel was there, and the need was there; yet only the Lord had enough humility to get down on His knees and clean off the filth from the world that had accumulated on them.

I wonder, how many of God’s servants today are truly servants. Both words, “minister” and “deacon”, have as their primary meaning the idea of serving others. There are too many preachers out there that want to be ministered to, instead of ministering to others. Every once in a while I hear about  preachers that have a list of demands that must be met in order for him to come and minister to a church. The list might include first class flights, a certain brand of hotel, minimum amount of love offering, etc. Now I am certainly not opposed to giving “double honor” to the men that come to preach for us; but I can’t in my wildest imagination think that Jesus or Paul would have such a list of demands. We need to get back to serving people. All kinds of people: rich ones and poor ones; educated ones and ignorant ones; all cultures; all races; even the ones with very dirty feet.


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