It’s the third chapter title in the J. Oswald Sanders classic and unequaled work, Spiritual Leadership. (True story: My wife gave me a second date partly because she saw a well-read copy of the book on my office desk.)
“Whoever wants to become great among you
must be your servant,
and whoever wants to be first must be a slave of all.”
“Jesus was a revolutionary, not in the guerrilla warfare sense, but in His teaching on leadership. The term servant speaks everywhere of low prestige, low respect, low honor. Most people are not attracted to such a low-value role. When Jesus used the term however, it was a synonym for greatness. And that was a revolutionary idea.” (p. 21)
“Only once in all the recorded words of Jesus did our Lord announce that He would provide an ‘example’ for the disciples, and then he washed their feet (John 13:15). Only once in the rest of the New Testament does a writer offer an ‘example’ (1 Peter 2:21), and that is an example of suffering. Serving and suffering are paired in the teaching and life of our Lord. One does not come without the other. And what servant is greater than the Lord?” (p. 23)
In the Kingdom of God, it is the servants, it is the ones who suffer for righteousness sake that stand tallest. Let us be a people who bow low, who serve the least, the lost and the lonely. Let us be a people who don’t care who gets the credit as long as Jesus gets the glory. Let us be a people who live out a counter-culture, revolutionary lifestyle of a servant of Christ that his name would be lifted up.