I speak of Tim Fall’s post, The Ungodly Doctrine of Servant Leadership.
Teh intertoobz is full of linear thinkers, black and white extremes, you’re with us or you’re against us. The nature of the venue lends itself well to clicking “like” or “dislike” as if everything in life is now cut and dry. Combine that with the modern tendency we all have to declare the truth to be how I like it to be, and it can be much like a carnival ride of “truth” without seat belts or like being trapped in a fun house hall of mirrors.
Ironically there is unity here among the two extremes, as in both sides are united in their objection to the whole concept of servant leadership, one side rejecting it because it demonstrates too much leadership, the other side complaining about too much servanthood. Dalrock for example, constantly criticizes the whole notion on account of the fact that servanthood is allegedly oppressive and demeaning to men, therefore ungodly. (Dalrock is kind of like the flip side of feminism, feminism with the genders reversed. He just edits out all the other parts of the bible that offend his side of the story.)
Tim Fall, who could not be farther from Dalrock if he tried, declares it ungodly because too much leadership, so allegedly what Jesus taught was really just servant-servitude.
Ai yi yi.
This is an impertinent thing to say, most impolite, but has anyone ever considered that the problem does not lie in the text, but rather in their own perceptions and understanding? That what both extremes have now labeled “ungodly” isn’t ungodly at all? That what actually unites both extremes is a very negative perception of authority in general? That what causes them to reject the whole notion outright used to be called “conviction” not offense, as in you just take it to the Lord and ask Him to take you just a bit deeper? Ask yourself why you hate the leadership part or the servant part and what that all means?
It grieves me to see Christians label things ungodly, especially things from the bible, important things that are kind of critical to our understanding of grace itself. Jesus washed His disciples feet, kind of the very epitome of servant leadership. There was some objection back than too, but as He put it so clearly, “if I wash you not, you have no part with me.”
People serve as leaders. Leadership is a service. You need someone’s help, wisdom, authority, the good ones will ask, “how can I serve you today?” But with service also comes responsibility, accountability, leadership. “No one is in charge here because we’re all just servants,” is a recipe for complete disaster. It’s also kind of scary. If you serve nothing, you’ll soon serve everything.
All in good humor here, but that’s my line, don’t ask me, I just work here. I’m just a servant. Wage slave actually. Nothing is my problem. They don’t pay me enough to care. Whatever. Sure, if you say so.
Mark 9:35 “Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
Amen! Fabulous words. But let us not forget the part about going first! You are going to a have to go first at some point, too.
In my neck of the woods we have a joke, the men often go first on trails. It has nothing to do with who gets to be the boss and far more to do with sticker bushes, spiderwebs, mud, and hidden dog poo land mines. It is service, they are going first and clearing the path of all hazards. It is a kindness. Yes, it is a kind of leadership too, but really just a service, as in there is nothing particularly glamorous about clearing a path.
Let’s slip over to Matthew 20:25-28, “But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
I really do believe that the idea of servant leadership is to be found throughout the bible, that rather than ungodly, it is kind of the very epitome of who Jesus Christ is. He is both the Lion and the Lamb, He leads and He serves. He laid down His life for us and He rose victorious. He is both that sweet babe in a manger and the King of Kings seated in victory.
Servant leadership is more like a math equation one must solve. As an equation it makes absolutely no sense to just pluck out the numbers you don’t like, as if that is going to provide you the solution you seek. These perceived “errors” are not in the equation itself, nor in the math, they reside in in our own understanding or our own misunderstanding.