Our teenage son is a coach through and through. When he sets a goal for himself, he is disciplined and committed to reach it, no matter what it is. He works hard and puts the time in, and because of that, he sees results. Because he is wired with leadership ability, he motivates others to set goals and follow through. When he heard me talking about working out, he felt compelled to create a plan for me for the next two months. He would ask me every day if I had done my workout, giving me an encouraging word if I had followed through.
One evening after it was already dark outside, I sat in the kitchen talking to him as he finished doing the dishes. As usual he asked if I had worked out that day. I sheepishly responded with a “no.” He asked me what my reasons were, and with each one I gave, he shot it down with truth. “No excuses” was his motto. Commitment was in order, despite the hour of the day, the weather, or my emotional state. There was a goal to be reached, a bigger picture to be realized. I had to chuckle as I sat there, a thirty-nine year old woman, being held accountable by a thirteen-year-old young man, who was absolutely right. He was young, but the next words out of his mouth were wise and spoken from the heart of a servant leader: “Mom, get your shoes on. I’m doing it with you.” And so we did. I ran that night better than any other time before.
In a much greater way, we have our Coach, our Leader, the Spirit and essence of our Savior within us. He not only came up with the plan and the purpose for our lives, saying, “Go, do it,” but He also says, “Get your shoes on. I’m doing it with you.”
God’s heart is one of passion and justice, and it is one of gentleness and humility. Jesus took off His robe and grabbed a towel for His disciples that day in the upper room (John 13), but when He lay on the cross, He took off His robe and grabbed a towel for you and me. Where we once may have felt threatened to lift up others and help them get ahead, we can now live in security. We can serve with joy because we are chosen through Jesus, because we have found a place to belong with God, because we know where we’re going….We can’t do it in our own strength, but He can. How abundant our lives can be because He gave us His! Every day we can choose to rest in His divine life living in and through us. Take heart, there’s hope for change. Because of Jesus in us, we can choose serving others over serving self- and love it! (Excerpt from Can You Tell This is a Knockoff: Finding Your True Identity in Christ (Horsfall & Hamsher, Barbour publishing)
Servant leaders derive their security from their identity in Christ, not from performance, position or people. This is imperative because we will always lead from who we are. What’s inside will come out in our leadership. If we are insecure, we will lead that way- our leadership will be self-focused because we will continually be trying to prove ourselves. But if our security lies in Christ, a peace and stability comes forth enabling us to keep our focus on Christ and the purposes He’s called us to.
In decision making that affects others, a secure/servant leader will put the best of others before their own wants. Rather than hold people back out of fear, servant leaders will develop and empower others and help them get ahead. They will not only walk in front of others to provide clarity of vision, but will walk beside others and ask, “How can I help?” Servant leaders show how… they go first. They won’t expect others to do what they won’t but especially in times of adversity, they will serve in the trenches along with their team. They will get their shoes on and do it with them. That speaks volumes to a team who’s tired, hurting and in need of hope to persevere.
To move from a place of insecurity to security, let’s discover our identity in Christ- the security He provides for us. Any fear that lies in failing, appearing wrong, helping others get ahead, losing our place, being less valuable or being overlooked or forgotten are empty threats. When we root ourselves in Christ and the birthright He gave us of “secure and complete in Him,” we will soon taste the joy and freedom that encouraging and empowering others brings.