The Servant Leader

Luis Quijada

I am not a preacher. I do not claim to be wise, but I can recognize and celebrate wisdom, humility, and compassion in those who are servant leaders, and the lack of these virtues in others who profess greatness with their mouths, but not with their deeds: “Words from a wise man’s mouth are pleasing, but a fool’s lips procure his own ruin” (Ecclesiastes 10: 12).

Toa Heftiba
I. The Old Testament

After Solomon, King David’s son, was appointed the king, Solomon journeyed to the high place of Gibeon, where during the night God appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, “Ask what you would like me to give you.” Solomon replied that he was a young man, unskilled in leadership, now finding himself king over a people in number like the dust of the earth, so many they could not be counted or reckoned. He asked God for a heart to understand how to govern the people, not in his own interests but in those of the nation, a heart for wisdom in practical affairs, understanding how to discern between good and evil, for, Solomon said, who could believe himself qualified to lead such a multitude. (1 Kings 3: 4-9; 2 Chronicles 1: 1-10)

Sander Crombach

And God answered Solomon: “Since you have asked for this, and not for riches, treasure, the lives of your enemies, honor for yourself, or even for a long life, but have asked for discernment to govern my people of whom I have made you king; therefore, wisdom and knowledge are granted you, a heart wise and shrewd as none before you has had and none will have after you.” (1 Kings 3: 10-15; 2 Chronicles 1: 11-12)

Solomon ruled for forty years (2 Chronicles 9: 30-31), concluding, in Ecclesiastes, his poetic book of wisdom, that “the right happiness for man is to eat and drink and be content with all the work he has to do under the sun, during the few days God has given him to live, since this is the lot assigned him,” seeking to live a life of value, God keeping his “heart occupied with joy” (Ecc. 5: 17-19), meaningful service, work that is not vain, not a “chasing of the wind” (Ecc. 2: 11).

Sander Crombach

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon contrasted leaders who are wise with those who are foolish:

“There is an evil I observe under the sun,
the type of misjudgment to which rulers are prone:
folly promoted to high dignities.” (Ecc. 10: 5-7)

“The wise man sees ahead,
the fool walks in the dark.” (Ecc. 2: 14)

“The gentle words of the wise
are heard above the shouts
of a king of fools.” (Ecc. 9: 17)

“Better wisdom than warlike weapons.
One mistake undoes a deal of good.”
(Ecc. 9: 18)

Jana Sabeth

“A fool is a great spender of words;
man does not know the future;
so who can tell him what is to happen
after his time?” (Ecc. 10: 13-14)

“Of the words he speaks
folly is the beginning,
sheer madness the end.”
(Ecc. 10:13)

“Better attend to a wise man’s reprimand
than listen to a song sung by a fool.
For like the crackling of thorns
under the cauldron is the laughter of fools.”
(Ecc. 7: 5-7)

Vladimir Kudinov

“Be in no hurry to speak;
do not hastily declare yourself
before God; for God is in heaven,
you on earth. Be sparing, then,
of speech.” (Ecc. 5: 1)

“Better is a handful of quietness
than two hands full of toil
and a striving after wind.”
(Ecc. 4: 6)

Patrick Schneider
II. The New Testament

Jesus came to show us God, exampling the life of a servant leader–loving his neighbor as himself, the good shepherd who will lay down his life for his sheep. (Matthew 22: 37-40; John 10: 11):

“The greatest among you must be your servant.
Anyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
and anyone who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(Matthew 23: 11-12)

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged;
do not condemn, and you will not be condemned;
grant pardon, and you will be pardoned.”
The “amount you measure out
is the amount you will be given back.”
(Luke 6: 36-38)

Be a “people with a noble and generous heart.”
(Luke 8: 15)

Franky Van Bever

“For I was hungry and you gave me food;
I was thirsty and you gave me drink;
I was a stranger and you made me welcome;
naked and you clothed me,
sick and you visited me,
in prison and you came to see me.”
(Matthew 25: 35-37)

Zac Durant

“When a man has had a great deal given him,
a great deal will be demanded of him.”
(Luke 12: 48)

“If I, then, the Lord and Master,
have washed your feet, you should
wash each other’s feet.
I have given you an example
so that you may copy
what I have done to you.”
(John 13: 14-15)

Zach Vessels

Jesus said, “. . . even if you refuse
to believe in me, at least
believe in the work I do.”
(John 10-37-38):
“the blind see again, the lame walk,
lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear,
the dead are raised to life,
the Good News is proclaimed
to the poor and happy is the man
who does not lose faith in me.”
(Luke: 7: 22-23)

Johann Siemens