Servant Leadership

The greatest prayer need in Zambia is for servant leaders. Much of the suffering in Zambia is due to a desperate shortage of servant leaders. Numerous high positions of every sort are occupied by people whose lust for power, control, or profit blinds them to even the most elementary decencies. Much worse for the led is that we love such leaders.

What do I mean? We love leaders who we will serve. We like to see financially successful leaders (even though we have no idea of how they got their riches) because we believe if they are successful, we will be ushered in that direction too. When we join a political party, we become a disciple of that leader and we become a helper of that leader. In the same way, at a local church, when we become a member of a local church we become a helper of that Bishop, Apostle or the Reverend whichever title you use. In Zambia members of a political party or a local church become the leader’s benefactors. It is not the other way round. In the process, we do not hold them accountable because if we do that we will be accused of raising a finger against God’s anointed and in the process we will be regarded as cursed.

Many of us do not understand that when we become Christians, we do not become Christ benefactor. We do not become His servant. It is Jesus who becomes our servant (Mark 10:45). Jesus does not need our help; He commands our obedience and offers his help. This is why becoming a Christian is a humbling thing. When we become Christians we are confessing that we need help. And we turn to Christ and say, “we can’t be or do what we know we are supposed to be and do. We are desperate. We need something way beyond what is inside of us or in any other ordinary person. We need you. We turn to you. We have nothing to offer in trade or purchase. We trust you, Lord Jesus to show us mercy and grace. We trust you to be our servant.”

We know that the apostles called themselves the “servant of Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:1; James 1:1; 2 Peter 1;1). This is not a contradiction of what Jesus is teaching in Mark. The idea of a servant is being used in two different ways. We are the servants of Jesus in that we submit to his authority and His right to tell us to do whatever He pleases. But we are not His servants in the sense that He needs our help and that His business in the world is sustained by our energy. He is not our servant in the sense that we command Him how to live. He is our servant in the sense that He uses all his divine resources to help us and strengthen us and guide us and support us and provide our need. And this what members of the church should expect from their church leaders. This is what members of a political party should expect from their leaders.

When we submit to him in that way, He makes heroes out of us. He told His disciples you will do greater things than what I do. Christ becomes our servant. And when he does, all of his other fundamental commands are no longer things we do for him, but things he enables us to do for others. The Christian life is a life of serving others in the strength that He supplies as our servant. It is loving others with the love He gives us as our servant. It is sacrificing and suffering with the hope and joy and patience that he gives us as our servant. Zambia needs Christian church and political leaders who walk in the shadow of our servant King. Let our prayer this season be that our leaders will be committed to staying in the path where they love to serve God’s people and make heroes out of them, not the other way round. Let us follow leaders whose aspiration isn’t financial success a primary marker but selfless servitude is their main goal in all they do.

Lawrence Temfwe