Summary: Servant leadership is when a leader humbles him or herself to be on the same level as those who are served. In the eyes of the Lord we are all equal, and for one to rise above another and say that they are better or more righteous is ungodly. What we ar
Dwight L. Moody once said, “The measure of a man is not how many servants he has, but how many men
he serves.” This morning’s sermon is focus on: “Servant Leadership that Empowers the People.”
Servant leadership is when a leader humbles him or herself to be on the same level as those who are
served. In the eyes of the Lord we are all equal, and for one to rise above another and say that they are
better or more righteous is ungodly. What we are to see is that servant leadership can work in two ways.
Leaders operate on the level of the ones served, and also the ones served can be leaders themselves
because they are servants to begin with.
Walter C. Jackson, a professor at Campbellsville University says, “Servant leadership, as portrayed in the
gospels, is difficult to maintain in a climate where increasingly larger segments of the Christian
population prefer ‘super-leader’ styles.” What this means to many is that this concept of servant
leadership is virtually unknown, so let’s dive in and see what it is all about.
First we’ll look at what the wrong attitude is for servant leadership, and then we will look at three points
defining what servant leadership is and is not.
The wrong attitude for leadership (vv. 35-41)
We see in verses 37-38 that James and John asked Jesus if they could be his right and left hand men.
Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you ask.” He basically told them that he was not the one who
decided who sat on his right and on his left in the kingdom, only God the Father could do that.
In verse 38 Jesus asked James and John if they were able to drink the same cup and be baptized with the
same baptism that he would. The cup is a metaphor for suffering in Isaiah chapter 51. Baptism is a
metaphor for being plunged into calamity in Psalm 42:7 and 69:1. Jesus’ death on the cross was the
ultimate act of servanthood in history. Jesus did a service to mankind that can never be repaid. He saved
the world from its sins. When Jesus asked this question of James and John, he was demonstrating to
them that greatness is achieved through service.
When Jesus asked this question he was expecting to hear them reply with the word “no,” because no one
would or could sacrifice themselves as he would. No one can save the world from its sins. He received a
very cocky answer from them though. James and John replied, “We are able.” When they told Jesus that
they were able to do what Jesus would, they demonstrated their prideful attitude that would hinder them
In verses 39-40 Jesus basically told them, “Yup, I guess you can suffer like I can, but that’s not going to
win you any favor in my Father’s kingdom.” You see, “They believed that they could endure a little
hardship if Jesus would grant them seats of power and corner offices.” If they suffered like Jesus, it
would have been for the wrong reason. They wouldn’t be suffering out of love for Christ, but out of the