“But not so with you, but let him who is the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as the servant.” Luke 22:26
Not So With You – The leadership fad will run its course. Eventually we will learn that leadership is a verb, not a noun. Then we will realize ubiquitous leadership training is wasted effort. We should be training those who are born leaders, not expecting everyone born to become a leader through training. Once we see this distinction, we can concentrate on Yeshua’s insight into leadership. Leadership is serving, a verb for everyone. It is the application of each person’s unique gift for the benefit of others. Leading is serving someone else according to the way God made me.
Yeshua’s disciples thought leadership was a matter of status. The greater the rank, the more important the person. Those who lead are at the top of the pyramid. But Yeshua turns it upside-down. Serving others is God’s measure of leading. It’s not a position. It’s an action – an action that anyone can perform.
Now that we’ve settled this issue, we should notice one important implication. The phrase “not so with you” (in Greek humeis ouk outos) is gender neutral. Oh, it’s clear Yeshua is addressing His disciples, but we can hardly justify the claim that His statement applies only to them. Yeshua declares that anyone who is a disciple will follow this exhortation. So, every man and every woman who claims Yeshua as Lord will lead by serving another. Seems obvious, doesn’t it? If it is so obvious, then how can we justify the claim that husbands are the rulers of their homes and wives are to be subservient to husbands’ wishes? Should we ignore Yeshua’s declaration? Does serving another apply to everything except marriage? Hardly! If a husband is a follower for Yeshua, then he leads by serving his wife, not by demanding she serve him. His leadership is exhibited in his willingness to give up his agenda and take care of hers. He lives for her. This, by the way, is exactly the behavioral expression of Yeshua’s sacrifice for the Body. If leadership is service, then there is no room at all for status or ranked authority in the Christian home.
Most Christians are quick to apply the servant-leader vocabulary to circumstances outside their homes. They try to emulate Yeshua’s behavior at work, at school, at church and in social settings among others. But when it comes to marriage, the principle is suddenly abandoned. Now men rule. Now the curse of Eve puts a wife under her husband’s authority. Now the man is the “head” of the home by divine proclamation. Now women are to be silent, submissive and subservient. And we call this leadership? Who are we kidding?
Oh, yes, before all the women stop cheering, remember that the principle applies to both sexes.
Topical Index: leadership, serving, authority, husband, wife, Luke 22:26