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Pastor's Corner: Practicing the discipline of servant humility

(John 13:1-17) So far in this important election year, I am not seeing any Servant Humility. How about you? Jesus washed the disciple's feet in order to demonstrate the humility with which his disciples are to continue as messengers of his Word and his Way. Jesus told the disciples that they must be willing to do as he had done (see John 13:14-17), and that they would be blessed as they became stewards of what he was teaching them. It was a lesson in the deep humility they would need to develop as they continued his work. It was an act that exemplified the kingdom of God: "The greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves" (Luke 22:26-27).

Practicing servant humility is an especially important discipline for leaders. To be "great" and to live as a servant is one of the most difficult of spiritual attainments. But it is also the pattern of life for which this bruised and aching world waits and without which it will never manage a decent existence. Those who would live this pattern must attain it through discipline of service in the power of God, for that alone will train them to exercise great power without corrupting their souls. Jesus' example is the key to becoming a leader who is a servant first.

Leadership is about serving; about never asking someone to do what you are not willing to do yourself; about being a good example so that those who follow are enabled to do likewise; about commitment and assuming responsibility for actions and results that will benefit those being led. [Jesus'] message was about giving yourself and risking the investment of yourself in others. In washing the disciples' feet, he reminded them that no leader is greater than the people he or she leads, and that even the humblest of tasks is worthy of a leader to do.

His example from 2000 years ago is still the example for us to follow. In doing so, we continue to ask the question and seek the answer to the following: "Will the real leader please stand up?" Not the person who holds the title or the position, but the role model. Not the highest paid person in the firm, but the risk taker. Not the person with the most money or perks, but the servant. Not the person who promotes himself/herself, but the promoter of others, Not the administrator, but the initiator. Not the taker, but the giver. Not the talker, but the listener.


Pastor Michael O'Hearn

Hi-Line Lutheran Churches


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