“If you don’t have enough character to serve, you don’t have enough character to lead.”
I read this quote one day and it was like lightbulb went off. It made perfect sense. Serving is leading!
The world tells us that the way up is to climb on the backs of everyone that stands in the way of our dream. A selfish leader uses others to promote themselves, but selflessleaders use themselves to promote others.
No matter what position or title is held in church or in the workplace, serving should be a part of our mentality because no matter what we do, we are in the people business. From the pulpit to opening the door with a smiling face, from a corporate business decision to the drive up window we should always be about people! It will be our character that will enable or disable us to see an increase.
Sadly in the church (and outside the church too), many get caught up in the lie that serving someone or being involved in a certain position or area that you aren’t really making a difference. They don’t see what they do as valuable or even that they are leading. Those who choose to serve selflessly do so out of their gifts. Those who have a mindset that its a job or a chore do so out of their groans. I love how 1 Peter 4:10-11 puts it, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen” (emphasis added). Through the smallest act that may go unnoticed to the one that is celebrated in public, the example of our lives allows not only ourselves but also those around to fulfill our God given purposes when we do so from a heart that truly serves. Serving is leading.
Everyday we have opportunities before us. They could be part of our daily routine, job description as well as unexpected moments. When you do what the Lord has placed in front of you to do and do it from a pure heart, with the right attitude and do it all as unto the Lord, He will begin to open doors for you that you never even asked for or thought was possible (Ephesians 3:20-21)! Those who truly lead through serving do so not for the recognition of man, but for the recognition of heaven. When we choose to serve selfishly, we allow pride, selfish ambition, bad attitudes, self promotion, jealousy, and even your own will to take up residence in our hearts. In doing so, we have evicted the One in whom we long to make a habitation for. DL Moody said it best, “God sends no one away empty except those who are full of themselves.”
Not everything we have learned is because it was taught, but because it was caught. Those who surrounded Jesus saw firsthand compassion, selflessness and genuine agape love. His life was not His own. Everywhere He went and every person He met, He served and ultimately willingly laid His life down for you and for me. The disciples “caught” these kingdom principals simply by seeing Jesus selflessly serve. Serving is leading.
Each of us have a God given purpose and possess gifts from the Lord. For many, serving with our gifts comes naturally. Matthew 5:41 is easy to put into practice, “If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” They constantly look for opportunities to go above and beyond. They don’t sit around and wait for someone to ask them to do something. They see a need and meet a need without hesitation and are willing to help in any situation and do so with joy.
For others, serving does not come naturally, but it can be cultivated and put into practice. Leaders who willingly choose to adopt this kingdom quality understand that they lead by example and in doing so, they surround themselves with like minded individuals. This not only changes the culture, but also enables them to have a greater impact on those they serve – both inside the four walls of the church as well as outside.
Philippians 2:5-8 says, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross!”
Jesus was the ultimate servant leader. He willingly laid down His life. The Cross is the beginning of our lives as well. Daily we choose take up our own cross and follow the example of Christ. We must become men and women of no reputation, no agenda, who do nothing for our own selfish gain. Everything we say, do and how we live our lives should always point others to Christ.
What is the example we portray with our lives? Is it one of self promotion or selfless service? Are we willing to lead with the gifts God has given us? We must make the decision to not only serve the One who has called us to a greater purpose, but to those whom He has called us to help find their purpose. He has placed the gifts, talents and the anointing to accomplish the work He has called us to but it depends on our character and the motives of our heart. Serving truly is leading.