15 September 2015
‘People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.’ – Mother Teresa
Praise God the way He served us did not depend on our response! And the same should be true of us – servant leadership is not contingent on the response of those it seeks to serve. Because true servant leadership is never really about ‘them’ (as Mother Teresa reminds us above), but it is an active overflow as we respond to who God is, and how He in Christ has first served us (Matt 20:28, Eph 6:7, Col 3:23).
Much like in Isaiah 29:13, it can be easy for us to appear as servant leaders by ‘drawing close,’ ‘honoring with our lips,’ but all the while have hearts that are ‘far from God.’ Our people do not need our external behavior to be modified to become more servant leader-y – they need our hearts and lives to see God for who He is – Servant, Savior, King – and live in response to that truth. Only in the recognition and response will we ever be true servant leaders capable of serving in the ‘anyway’ of ministry.