Summary: All leaders are called to constantly choose between the Power and Authority Model and the Servant Model of Leadership. What do we generally choose and why do we choose the obvious?
Servant Leadership – Part II – A conscious choice that we make
There was this couple, who lived very close to the Church. They could just step into the church from their home, pretty much like Abrahams when they attend our church. One Sunday the wife, decided that she will save time, in cooking, and put the Chicken to roast in the oven, and proceeded to the church. She knew that the pastor was a punctual man and she knew that she would finish just in time for the roast to be well done. Unfortunately for her, there was a famous guest speaker, who gave the sermon that day, (pretty much like me.. not the famous part.. the guest speaker part), and in his enthusiasm he went on a bit too long. The wife was getting restless, and her husband was sitting right at the front, while she was in the back benches. Finally she decided to write a note to the husband, and sought the help of the usher to take the note to the husband. The usher misunderstood, and instead, handed the note over to the speaker. The speaker read the note and abruptly stopped the sermon and sat down. After the service the pastor asked the guest speaker why he ended his sermon so abruptly. He said ‘ I got a hate letter from a member of your congregation”. Oh really! What did it say? The pastor asked. “ It said, “go home and turn off the gas”.
I am not going to take any notes that come from you today. If you want to send any notes send them to Ashish.
I am sure at least some of you will be remembering my last Sermon on Servant Leadership. As I indicated in my last sermon, I intend to speak on this topic for many more future sermons (as long as you permit me to, that is…). Some of you might be thinking that I am doing this because I am researching on the subject, and hence it is convenient for me to speak on the topic. And you know what.. you are absolutely right. But, I am speaking on this subject, also because, I believe that all of us who are members of the body of Christ, need to make a conscious choice about the Leadership style that we want to follow, and hopefully when we are done with this series we will be convinced that Servant Leadership is the right style that we choose to follow. Victor Hugo is believed to have said “There is nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come”. I believe that Servant leadership is an idea whose time has come.
At the risk of sounding repetitive let me remind you that once we chose to become followers of Christ, we do not have a choice but be leaders in His Kingdom. Remember John 15:16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last” So we have a responsibility to be leaders, and when we lead, we have to choose the leadership style that we want to demonstrate. This morning let us see if there are reasons why we should choose Servant Leadership as the model that we should demonstrate.
At my workplace I always draw the distinction between, “Have to do” and “choose to do”. When we “have to do” things, we do it to please others, we do it because our parents ask us to, we do it because it makes us look good etc. On the other hand, when we “choose to do” some
thing, we do it with full ownership and responsibility. Servant leadership is not some thing that I would want us to “have to do” but it is my prayer that it will become a thing that we “choose to do”, in our fellowship, at our workplaces, at home, at our neighborhood.
I believe that God makes divine connections all the time. My venturing into research on Servant Leadership has enabled me to make such divine connections with many experts on that field. One of them is Dr Jim Laub, who is the Dean -- MacArthur School of Leadership, Palm Beach Atlantic University. I am using his research work as one of the base models for my research, and I have used some of his illustrations in this sermon.
Let us look at two contrasting choices on Leadership model, that two people in the Bible made.
Let us first look at the story of Rehoboam. He inherited the Kingdom of Israel arguably at it’s wealthiest best. When Rehoboam became King of Israel after the death of his father Solomon, he held an audience with his followers who proceeded to lay down conditions for their continued faithfulness to him. They told him “your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you” (I Kings12:4). Rehoboam asked for three days to prepare a response and to seek the wisdom of his advisors. The decision he had to make was a choice as to the kind of leader he would be. Two different views emerged. One group of advisors (the elder wise men of the kingdom)