week 5 devotional 100 words only
Servant Leadership has been inundated by hype. It’s often cast as this glorious process whereby a servant leader mentors a very grateful follower, helping that person to grow into something wonderful. There is certainly the possibility of that happening. But we often forget that being a servant often means doing unpleasant and inconvenient things for people that we don’t naturally like and who either don’t appreciate what we’re doing for them or who are a bit needy and clingy.
If you’ve ever been in a situation like that, you begin to understand how selfish you really are, and how misplaced your motives are in being a “servant.” Christ poured his life out for those whom society looked down upon. He had little tolerance for the self-righteous of his day. That should be a sobering reminder for us anytime we feel the impulse to look down upon others. As we begin to take a look at some of those motives in our own hearts that are not what they should be, we begin to understand that to be a true servant leader, we need Christ to change our hearts so that we truly learn to love people. And therein lies one of the glaring weaknesses of servant leadership as articulated by Greenleaf, in which Christ is portrayed as a wonderful example of servant leadership, but not as the Savior of mankind who alone can change our hearts such that we actually love people like we should, without any strings attached.
Another challenge of servant leadership as defined by Greenleaf is that it embraces a bit of moral relativism. Greenleaf argued that true leaders had to get past doing things for the same tired old reasons that we always do things, and to get past conventional morality in order to move with evolving society. But we serve a risen Lord who is the eternal Word of God. The good news is that right and wrong don’t change, because the character of our Lord and Savior doesn’t change. As a result, all of life is cast in romantic terms, including the struggle of good against evil, of every man and woman gifted by God to do unique and creative things, and of working together as a team to accomplish great goals. These are all possible because values don’t change and because there really is a reason for living beyond just the evolutionary motto of self-survival.
Related to these ideas is the notion of Spirituality in the Workplace. We live in a contentious society where people do not like having religion forced upon them, especially in the workplace. That’s why “spirituality in the workplace” is not about the advancement of a particular religion in the workplace, but rather about allowing people to express themselves spiritually in the workplace and to work together with one another to build community, accomplish transcendent goals, and serve their larger communities. Related to all of this are things like servant leadership and “authentic” leadership, where leaders are not about themselves but about being real with employees and demonstrating integrity.
Of course, Christians should embrace this perspective, and the notion of biblical concepts calls for such things. Ultimately, we know that only Christ can truly knit us together at the heart and soul level, into one body where we truly love and care for one another. Apart from Christ, these goals and dreams will never be realized, but still the world aches for this type of intimacy and connection, and we can show them the “hope that is within us” by demonstrating love for our neighbors, and even our enemies, in the workplace.