LUKE 22:25-27: “Jesus said to them, “The kings of nations have power over their people, and those in authority call themselves friends of the people. But you’re not going to be that way! Rather, the greatest among you must be like the youngest, and your leader must be like a servant. Who’s the greatest, the person who sits at the table or the servant? Isn’t it really the person who sits at the table? But I’m among you as a servant.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: What is the hallmark of a great leader? As we are in a presidential election year this is a question worth considering. Is it one who is strong and confident, who possesses the greatest resume of accomplishments? Is it one who makes promises that appeal to the people and positions themselves as their “friend”? Or is it something else?
I wonder what Abraham Lincoln was thinking when he penned these words from the Gettysburg Address…
- “…That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Abraham Lincoln was calling us back to our foundational roots – a government of the people, by the people, for the people. What type of leadership is required for this type of government? Surely it was not one who leads from a position of aristocracy or authoritarian rule. Could Abraham Lincoln have been pondering on the words of Jesus when he said,
- “Rather, the greatest among you must be like the youngest, and your leader must be like a servant.”
Jesus used Himself as our example of the hallmark of a great leader. He was God incarnate, the Creator of the Universe. He deserved to be placed at the most prominent position at table. Yet, Jesus said He had come among us as a servant. The hallmark of a truly great leader is to be a servant of those he is leading. And isn’t this really a wonderful description of what any leader of a government – “…of the people, by the people, and for the people…” should be?
As we prayerfully consider those who are running for President of the United States, may we ponder these words of Jesus and of Abraham Lincoln. May we remember that the greatest leaders who have stood among us have not been those who have ruled from a lofty position of power, or who have promised to give us the things we desire. The true leaders among us have been those who have served the people, and helped us see what we need to become, what we need to accomplish, and what we need to sacrifice.
John F. Kennedy challenged us so many years ago –
- “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
This was a call to a servant’s heart and attitude. May we pray for and seek a leader with such a heart. And may we be a people with such a heart once again.
In Jesus Name!