If you are a person of faith, then you truly know from reading the Bible that through His words and actions, Jesus was a powerful and influential leader. Through his words and actions he created leaders as a leader. But, what happened after Jesus stood up from the table at The Last Supper shocked and confused his twelve disciples.
[box]1 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.
3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;
4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.
5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.”
11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.
13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.
14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.
15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.
17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.[/box]
So, what can the leaders of today learn from what Jesus did that day?
Jesus washed their feet. The actions witnessed this day are the epitome of servant leadership. Leading requires action and that action is of the service to others. Showing servant leadership means that you have a responsibility to serve your followers. I can understand how this can be hard to grasp when thinking within the realm of a rank or title structure hierarchy.
Servant Leadership: If you are not serving, you are not leading.
It must take a great amount of humility for someone so powerful to kneel before the disciples and perform this act. This should tell us that it isn’t the title or position you hold that makes you a great leader, but it is the heart inspired action you take that makes you a great leader.
It is important to humble yourself, just as Jesus did to have a greater impact. Just imagine the lives that will be positively affected by you taking more heart-inspired action.
When serving is done right, it looks a lot like giving. By serving those you lead, you are essentially giving unto them.
Leaders can mimic the kind of servant leadership Jesus portrayed by:
- Paying special attention to the needs of those they are leading.
- Losing any thinking that your title or position is too great to be able to do what may seem below you.
- Thinking about how those people are affected by your actions. Take it to heart and have confidence in knowing that you had an impact.
This kind of service is selfless. Serving is done without expecting anything in return. This is the most powerful and effective type of service.
The Servant Leadership Challenge
I want you to find at least one opportunity this week to perform a selfless act of serving that positively impacts your family or your team. Think about what Jesus did in the scripture and mimic his action. Do it because you care and expect nothing in return.
Take three minutes and listen to what Ken Blanchard has to say about the two parts under the leadership part of ‘servant leadership’, vision and direction.
Are you willing to humble yourself and lead with servant leadership?