Conntecting the Dots

Servanthood, Jesus, and Granny Maude

I recently read the book Jesus on Leadership by Gene Wilkes. Excellent! In it, the author stresses that true leadership is defined by attitude not by position. He warns against the “head table mentality” – an attitude demonstrated, unfortunately, by many leaders today. They like public recognition for their position, so they set themselves a notch above the little guy where their ego can be stroked and coddled.

This was sooo not Jesus’ way. “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave,” He said. “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:26-28). Shortly after He spoke those words, He knelt before His disciples and washed their grimy feet.

I think of a little granny I once knew. Her name was Maude. Stooped, grey-haired, and bifocaled, this wee widow in her 60s cleaned houses for a living. She spent her free time weeding the flowerbeds outside our church. She never whined, never grumbled. She went through her days smiling and looking for ways to make life easier for others. No task was beneath her dignity.

Granny Maude never taught a Sunday school class or led a Bible study. She never preached or spoke publicly or sang on the worship team. But she taught me how to can peaches and pears. She cared for my children during my difficult third pregnancy. She sent financial support for our family’s ministry for many years. She modeled service, and in doing so, she showed me what Jesus looked like. I recall this sweet lady who died a couple of years ago and I wonder, Does my life model Jesus in the same way? Am I a servant, too? Or am I waiting for others to serve me? I pray it’s the former, not the latter.

Now it’s your turn. If someone has modeled a servant’s heart to you, tell us about it. We’d love to hear your story.

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