We don't have to look far in scripture to see that when God calls an individual to be a leader, he also is calling that person to serve. The best leader is one who is subject to his owner, (God) and one who is willing to sacrifice his own desires to serve the needs of others. Jesus is an prime example of a servant leader. In Hebrews 10:9a he said, "Lo I come to do thy will, O God." He was subject to the Father when he prayed in the garden, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." (Matthew 26:39) He taught this principle to his disciples, as seen in Mark 9:35, "If any man desire to be first (a leader), the same shall be last of all, and servant of all."
While reading 1Samuel I discovered another servant leader. Samuel served Israel as both prophet and priest for many years and was respected as a great leader. In chapter 12 we read Samuel's words as he is about to retire. As, I looked closely at these verses, what I found was a picture of what a servant leader looks like.
- He showed them how to live by his example. (Verse 3)
- He reminded them of the righteous acts of God in the past. (Verse 7)
- He instructed them in the truth. (Verse 14 & 15)
- He interceded for the people. (Verse 19)
- He advised the people which direction to take. (Verse 20)
- He reassured the people that God loved them. (Verse 22)
- He taught them the good and right way. (Verse 23)
We can all learn from Samuel's example of what a servant leader looks like. It would do us good to evaluate our own leadership roles, whether it's in our homes, our workplace, our church, our community, or our world. We need leaders who will live exemplary lives, who will speak the truth and teach what is good and right. We need leaders who will intercede for those God has placed in their care. And remember that Jesus said he that would be first, must be the servant of all.