The Rev. Andrew K. Barnett
Today’s Gospel: John 8:51–59
Jesus says, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing” and in 7 days, we will recall that Jesus kneels before his friends to wash their feet. He tells us “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” This story is the great summation of Jesus’ servant leadership. Indeed, there is a power in servant leadership that deserves our consideration.
Scholar Robert Greenleaf offers these ten attributes of a servant leader:
1) Listening (as communication. Not just talking, but listening);
2) Empathy (standing in the shoes of another);
3) Healing (to make whole);
4) Awareness (be receptive to what happens around you);
5) Persuasion (convince others to change by showing them what’s possible);
6) Conceptualization (be a visionary);
7) Foresight (predict the future);
8) Stewardship (take responsibility for your role);
9) Commitment to the growth of people (see them as more than just worker bees); and
10) Building Community (authentic relationships that bring joy).
In a world full of brittle strongmen, often competing to see who can be louder or more brash, leaders who serve softly like Jesus can be transformative.
Servant leaders fundamentally change the conversation, and just notice the way people look up.
May these lyrics by New Zealand Folk Singer Richard Gillard serve as our prayer this day.
“Will you let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you? Pray that I might have the grace to let you be my servant too.
We are pilgrims on a journey, we are travelers on the road. We are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load.
I will hold the Christ-light for you in the night time of your fear. I will hold my hand out to you, speak the peace you long to hear.”
(Richard Gillard, The Servant Song. © 1977 Scripture in Song/Maranatha! Music (ASCAP) (admin. by Capital CMG Publishing).