What does servanthood look like in the home? Simply put, the leader serves first. Serving begins at the top.
In corporate America we have been taught that at the top of the pyramid are those that are to be served and the further you go to the bottom, broader part of the pyramid are the “peons” that serve those that are over them. This model is completely unbiblical.
Jesus taught (and showed through His life) that leadership is a matter of serving people. In other words, the higher you go in the pyramid the more responsibilities you have to serve and care for those under your stewardship. Today, this concept has been coined as “servant leadership”.
Note the words of Jesus Christ as He contrasts the way the world views leadership and the way God’s people are to view it – “And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.” (Luke 22:25-27)
From God’s perspective, the basis of leadership is service. This means that leadership is a call to sacrifice. One of the greatest stories of promotion in all of the Bible is from the life of Joseph in the Old Testament. Take a moment and read Genesis 39:1-4.
His incredible promotion was not based on his drive to be a success, but God honoring his willingness to be a servant wherever he was. In fact, I believe the reason Joseph went through so much suffering and learned humility as a servant was because of his future assignment as a world leader. He would never have been an effective leader until he first learned to serve.
Early in his life he was interested in titles and being promoted, but God put him in a place where he had to focus on serving those in authority over him. He not only fulfilled his assigned role and responsibility, but he went the second mile. During his time he learned not to serve to gain favor, but because it was the right thing to do – and God honored him by promoting him.
God will allow us, too, to experience brokenness and hard times so that we might be promoted to lead others and minister with a gracious, humble spirit.
The same principle holds true in the family unit: those with the most authority and responsibility should have the greatest servant’s heart. This means the father should be the most humble servant in the family. It means the eldest child seek to serve those that are younger.
Next to getting your children to Christ and living a life of truth is teaching them a genuine spirit of servanthood. This is more caught than taught. When the children see Dad serving Mom and looking for opportunities to help and care for the family, it makes an impression on them.
Those in leadership that follow this model of serving like Christ will always give more than they receive and love more than they are loved. Leadership is costly and much of the cost relates to unrequited giving.
God has called us to serve others and this should begin in our homes. It means that the best leader is the one that takes the initiative in serving. Let’s work at going first in serving our families this week.