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Servant Leaders Go to the End of the Line (first Must Become Last)

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If you want to be first, you must be willing to be last -- even servant of all.

“And He sat down and called the Twelve [apostles], and He said to them, If anyone desires to be first, he must be last of all, and servant of all.” (Mark 9:35, AMP)

Jesus lays out a fundamental principle of servant leadership for His disciples. His teaching stands in marked contrast to worldly thinking and norms. Jesus states that if you want to be first, you must be willing to be last. He goes on to add an even greater requirement – that you must be servant of all.

I can tell you from personal experience that this message has been overlooked and blatantly disregarded by many worldly and Christian leaders, and does not describe my 35 years of experience. I have seen leaders who: (1) possess a prideful and arrogant spirit that often holds others in disdain and contempt (2) are driven by intense desire for position, power and control (3) blatantly defend and selfishly justify radically skewed personal compensation and benefit programs at the expense of employee welfare (4) are motivated by deeply entrenched attitudes of entitlement and preferential treatment (5) show flagrant disregard for established policies and procedures, coupled with an attitude that they only apply to others (6) operate with an expectation to be served and catered to at all times.

I praise God that within the last decade changes and new trends are happening as executives and leaders from business, academia, non-profits and the church move toward true servant leadership. In growing numbers, they are enrolling in conferences and seminars at the Greenleaf Center (www.greenleafcenter.org) and Lead Like Jesus (www.leadlikejesus.com) and beginning to change their thinking and behavior. On a daily basis, new books and articles are coming out that point us back to Jesus as the ultimate Model for leadership.

Child of God, I encourage you to ask God to speak to you today about your heart and your leadership behavior. Are you a “serve-me first,” or a “serve-others first” leader? I encourage you to be willing to serve and wash some feet today? Be willing to put others first and go to the end of the line!

Lord, thank You for not only teaching us about servant leadership, but showing us how in the life of Jesus. Jesus, Your life of servant leadership challenges and inspires me. Give me Your grace and teach me to copy You. Help me rush to find my spot at the end of the line. Through the blood of Jesus and in the name of Jesus I pray, amen.

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