“There are two ways of exerting one’s strength: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up.” ~ Booker T. Washington
Strong, secure leaders use their position of strength to serve others. They pull others up. That’s how it’s supposed to work. Unfortunately, many leaders in positions of power only use their strength for their own benefit. They push others down. That’s not how God intends it to be. Paul writes to the church at Rome about this very thing:
Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. (Romans 15:1-2 NASB)
God’s ways are often counterintuitive to the ways of the world. Most leaders who are driven by the pursuit of success lust after power. They maneuver and manipulate people and policies in order to give themselves an advantage. Many of these leaders are actually insecure. They wield power in order to mask their insecurities. They push others down to lift themselves up.
Paul teaches that being self-serving is the opposite of what God intends strong leaders to do. He wants them to set aside serving themselves for the sake of serving others. Humility is at the heart of servant leadership.
Jesus set the standard. He never used His power to benefit Himself. It was always used to serve and meet the needs of others. In every one of the miracles, Jesus used His power to heal others, feed others, quench thirst and bring comfort and peace to others. Jesus used everything He had in His power, including His position and authority, to benefit others and bring glory to God. What would it look like for you to lead like Jesus and use your position to serve others in order to glorify God?
Your leadership is not as much about authority as it is about responsibility. God has given you gifts, abilities and resources that have allowed you to grow as a leader into a position of power. This position affords you the strength and resources needed to serve those who are “weak” in your realm of influence. You have to decide if you will either use your strength to lift people up or push them down.
How will you follow Jesus’ example of servant leadership today? Being a servant leader begins by being secure in who God has made you to be. You must recognize that everything you have was given to you by God, including your position of power. How you treat others is determined by whether your desire is set on pleasing yourself or set on pleasing God.
When you bless those around you as God intended, you build them up and they in turn glorify God because of His goodness to them through you. How awesome is that? Lead like Jesus today and be a strong leader. Show your strength by serving others and lifting them up.