I said to my family not too long ago, when asked what God is teaching me through the COVID pandemic, “I don’t give myself enough credit for my sin.” I think that might be because I continue to grow to understand the depths of my sin and my extreme need for a Savior. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for what Christ did for us when He died on the cross to save us, but then awed by the power of God to raise Him on the third day and rose. The sacrifice, the redemptive power, and the promise of eternity for all who believe wrapped up in a weekend. That’s God for you. Loving and omnipotent, faithful and full of grace. I didn’t know it at the time, but a seemingly simple experience at Easter time has stuck with me for many years and gives a beautiful picture of the Easter story.
It was the day of the preschool egg hunt. Boys and girls ages 2 through 5 arrived at school dressed in their Easter best—frilly dresses, bow ties, plaid shirts, and lots of seersucker. As is often the case, preschool parents outnumbered the children. We made our way to the park where many plastic eggs were hidden; the children excitedly approached with their baskets ready to fill. With parents lining the boundary of the “eggstravaganza,” the children were off. In very little time, my son, four at the time, had quickly filled his basket when he suddenly stopped looking and walked over to one of his classmates. She was standing alone with tears streaming down her face. I hadn’t noticed, but my son had. I don’t know exactly what transpired in their conversation, but as I looked on from a distance, my son tipped over his basket and emptied all his eggs into her basket. Then he walked over to me and said, “She needs those more than me.” Now it was me with tears coming down my face.
That is the story of Easter. Jesus Christ, Son of God, freely gave His life, His all, freely for all of us. He emptied Himself for us at Easter, serving mankind with the greatest gift of all. Jesus submitted His own life to sacrificial service under the will of God. Although He was more powerful than any other leaders in the world, His example of servant leadership and commitment to serving others was motivated by his love for His followers. It was by living by His own words that He sets an example to all of us. This triggers a question for us all: How well are we following the example of servant leadership?
To do a quick check on your own servant leadership, start by asking yourself a few questions:
- Do I practice Christ-centred thinking and actions in ALL areas of my life?
- Am I committed to serving others and their needs before myself?
- Do I have the courage to lead with love for others even when hard decisions are at hand?
- Am I developing others by leading spiritually to inspire others’ servant leadership?
- Do I challenge others to grow in their love and understanding in th eTruth of God’s Word through a deep relationship with him?
Servant leadership is much more about being than it is about doing. It is a daily commitment to love God first and love others as he loves. God showed his deep love for us in the gift of his Son Jesus. May we have the desire, the courage and commitment to grow as we follow that example as we lead God’s people. May this Easter reinvigorate our desire to serve others.
Happy Easter, friends!
[An author’s note of caution: Be careful about emptying yourself too much in order to serve others. Part of our growth as leaders requires time to remain in the Word as God rebuilds sour strength to serve others. We can’t do much for others if we run on empty for too long.]