By the very nature of the True Faith once delivered, the Messianic Believer is a leader. This rather audacious statement flies contrary to the classic portrait of the Christian who is often viewed as demure and rather passive. How many so-called Christians do you know with fire in the belly and a boisterous disposition that is ready to confront the injustices of life? Not very many huh? Let’s face it: most Christians are taught to be meek and lowly, or should I say, most Christians are taught to be weak and pitiful. Generally, verses such as [Rom 13:1 KJV] 1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God...are interpreted and taught to the masses in such a way as to engender a more subdued attitude and disposition that we’ve all come to expect of Christians in our society. And then there is: [Tts 3:1 KJV] 1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, [1Pe 2:18 KJV] 18 Servants, [be] subject to [your] masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.
[1Pe 5:5 KJV] 5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all [of you] be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. All excellent lessons from the Apostles Paul and Peter when read and interpreted at face value. But these lessons become even better lessons when they are considered and read in context and when we look at the example of the life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (a.k.a. Yeshua Hamaschiach) who indeed was under subjection to the Romans as well as the Jewish religious establishment of His day. He did not lead an insurrection nor did He seek to undermine the extant governmental and religious hierarchy. Yet He operated masterfully under both oppressive systems and He in no way behaved like the traditional-ideal Christian of the 21st century. When the purpose of the Gospel was to be accomplished, He did not let takanot prevent Him from doing what needed to be done (e.g., healing on the Sabbath and gleaning for food in a field on the Sabbath when He and His disciples were hungry). The Master was indeed a leader in every respect of the word. In fact, I would go so far as to say that our Master defined the entire concept of leadership, especially as it relates to Servant Leadership.
This morning I was once again privileged to teach the second part of a Servant Leadership course that was designed for County workers. I’ve personally adopted the principles of Servant Leadership as the guiding principles that I follow in my everyday life, in addition to Torah living. Why? Because I sincerely believe that the whole concept of Servant Leadership was brilliantly displayed and practiced by Yeshua our Master. The whole concept of Servant Leadership is serving those who are for whatever reason placed in our lives; and by serving, one naturally becomes a leader. It should be readily apparent that a servant operates fully from within and seeks to do the right thing for all the right reasons, even when no one is watching or is aware. Serving is a way of life. The decision to serve must be made at the deepest core of one’s being. When realized, the servant lives according to the mantra that it’s all about the people we serve and not about us. Consequently, one serves because it is who he or she naturally is: a servant. Interestingly, the concept of being a servant has a negative connotation as depicting one who is forced to do menial work and be subjected to harsh working conditions and who is prevented from saying anything about his or her plight out of fear of being harmed by the powers to be. We are not necessarily talking about being a servant in the classic sense, but one who serves because he or she desires to serve and it defines who he or she is.
Interestingly, Paul, James the brother of Yeshua, Peter, and Jude another brother of Yeshua, all referred to themselves in their writings as “servants.” of the Master. Despite their humble references to themselves as servants, there should be absolutely no question in anyone’s minds that they were individually apt leaders in their own right. And that is the whole thought behind being a Servant Leader. If we become sold-out, obedient, and selfless servants of the Master, we will by default become leaders.
There is, however, a drought of leaders in the Faith today, especially in the Messianic Faith. I perceive the reason for this has to do with a lack of:
- True servants’ hearts in the Faith. It is clear to me that the Messianic today has significantly more knowledge of Scripture than the average fundamental Christian simply by virtue of the fact that one who becomes a Messianic must understand much of the Bible in order to make the move over to the True Faith once delivered. Yet, many of the people who I’ve met in this Faith lack any sense of humbleness or a mindset of serving as a way of being. There is almost this sense of haughtiness and snootiness that is palpable. In their case, knowledge and understanding replaces love and the desire to serve. I recall being at the Feast of Sukkot celebration in Denver Colorado this past September with Michael Rood and the Rood Crew and seeing several believers abruptly leave the forum when Arthur Bailey stood up and admonished each of us to seek out those in need and offer for them prayers and supplications and the laying on of hands. The look on their faces as they made the decision to leave was as if they were appalled at being asked to be of service. I was truly sad to see that. I understand as well, that some of those people, with indignation, wrote letters to Michael Rood complaining of Arthur Bailey’s instructions during that service. Praise Yehovah, Michael Rood stood on firm ground and backed Arthur Bailey fully and supported the mindset of being of service to those in need. If believers like these refuse to become servants of Yeshua, they can not be true leaders.
- The Desire to Serve and Thus Lead. It seems equally clear to me that most Believers of Messiah are afraid to be leaders at any level. I recall when I was active in the United Church of God. UCG is not a Messianic group, but they do believe and practice almost everything held sacred and Biblical to Messianics with the exception of a handful of issues (e.g., it’s okay to eat out on the Sabbath, Yeshua is God of the Old Testament, and a distaste of the use of sacred names). Being active, I often led Sabbath services and as part of that responsibility, I was tasked with finding men in the congregation to pray during the service. Well, most of the men in the Church were veteran UCG members who were steeped in the knowledge of the Truth. Yet, when it came down to me asking them to pray, they would find every reason in the book to say no. Granted, this is one minor example, but it was part and parcel of the bigger problem that was the mainstay of the UCG church, and that was that most of the men in the congregation were resistant to standing up and leading and in many cases, some of these men were simply terrified of being asked to lead. It goes without saying, most anywhere else where Believers are assembled, most are reluctant to lead and for that matter even less likely to serve.
- Understanding of the End Product. Indeed, there must be a lack of understanding as to what the end product of our Faith is going to be. All indications are that we, the chosen of Messiah, redeemed and transformed when the Master returns to the earth and takes us to the sea of fire and glass. When the Savior does return to this earth to assume His rightful kingship and millennial reign, we His chosen will become perpetual Servant Leaders. It will be up to us to carry out the plans of the Father and our Redeemer to educate those millions of people who remain upon the earth. We will be given assignments and areas of responsibility that will entail showing the Peoples of this earth how to live God’s way as well as assisting in the rebuilding of fallen earth back to its Edenic status. Until that time, we have daily opportunities to serve those whom the Father brings within our circle of influence. And by serving those who exist in our circle of influence, we become leaders. We become leaders through living lives that provide those around us with divine examples how man is supposed to live-thus leading by example. We become leaders by seeing the needs of those around us and ensuring that those needs are met. We become leaders by building those around us up and by taking a back seat and not seeking praise.
The creator and developers of the Servant Leadership Course that I was so blessed to facilitate made it clear that the precepts of Servant Leadership were not built upon Biblical teachings. These same developers, however, admitted that many if not most of the principles of Servant Leadership have undeniable Christian overtones. Indeed, they are correct. More so, I would go so far as to say that the creator of Servant Leadership–Robert Greenleaf–could not have developed Servant Leadership without significant Biblical crossover of Messianic principles. Yeshua was the ultimate Servant when He came to this earth and taught us how to live Torah the proper way, served and did the will of the Father, and died for our sins that we most sinful creatures may have eternal life. Currently He serves the Father and us as High Priest while leading as He sits at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. When He returns to this earth, the concepts of Servant Leadership will indeed be spotlighted as He will reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords and we, His chosen, will reign with Him and serve the Father and Yeshua, as kings and priests–reference Revelation 20: 4-6: CJB Revelation 20:4 Then I saw thrones, and those seated on them received authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for testifying about Yeshua and proclaiming the Word of God, also those who had not worshipped the beast or its image and had not received the mark on their foreheads and on their hands. They came to life and ruled with the Messiah for a thousand years. 5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were over.) This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is anyone who has a part in the first resurrection; over him the second death has no power. On the contrary, they will be cohanim of God and of the Messiah, and they will rule with him for the thousand years. It’s not entirely certain just what the Father has in mind for us during the Millennial Reign of the Master, but verse six of this chapter clearly places upon us the roll of being priests of the Most High. What do priest do: they serve. By virtue of their serving, they become leaders as verse six also says that we will rule with the Mast for a thousand years.
I am so happy to have had this wonderful opportunity to facilitate this class and share many of my perceptions of Godly service and leadership. I saw this opportunity as an opportunity to practice up and get my “servant” on if you will and by virtue of serving, be the leader that our Master is calling for in these last and evil days. Until next time, be most blessed fellow Saints in Training.[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]