There is so much pressure to perform and look the part when you’re a leader.
One of the greatest pressures is to “walk the walk” and “talk the talk” at all times because you’ve been taught that someone is always watching you.
This pressure isn’t always a bad thing, but it can put us in a certain box if we’re not careful.
One thing that can happen is we behave solely as a leader and we never look like a servant. Yes, they’re supposed to be the same thing, but we can forget and even ignore the servant part. We can find ourselves in a leader role instead of a servant-leader role.
This famous quote (attributed to several people) emerged on the church leadership scene years ago:
“Only do what only you can do.”
This quote was originally put forth to address the need for leaders to delegate and empower their teams and volunteers.
However, some have taken this quote and wrongly convinced themselves that some tasks are too menial or beneath them. They think their taking-out-the-trash days are far behind them. Some have mistakenly believed that leaders at a certain level are too good or too important for the duties that won’t get them noticed.
Remember these words of Jesus? “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” (Mark 10:45, NLT). Notice here that Jesus said he came to serve others—not to lead.
In Matthew 6, Jesus says we should do some things in secret like praying and fasting just to be sure we’re not doing anything for an audience. I think serving could comfortably be placed alongside these other spiritual practices.
Eugene Peterson said, “We are at our pastoral best when we are not noticed.”
Consider doing one, some, or even all of the secret things below on your own time to revisit what it means to just be a servant.
- Go to the nearest soup kitchen or shelter and volunteer for a couple hours—and don’t tell anyone what you’re doing. Serve anonymously.
- Give a generous amount of cash to someone you know who really needs it. Make sure they can never find out it was you.
- Look around your place of work or neighborhood and take note of what needs to be done but think you’re “too good” to do. Whatever you think of, go take care of it. Do it undercover, though.
- Slip an anonymous note to someone who really needs encouragement. Type it up, though. You don’t want them to recognize your handwriting!
- Do a 3 day fast specifically asking Jesus to speak into what it would mean for you to be more of a servant—and you’re not allowed to complain to anyone about how hungry you are.