A Leader is a Servant
A servant is one of the lowest positions one can hold in society. However, the best leader is a servant. There is an example in the military that true leaders will be the last to eat because they will make sure that all the troops underneath them get their food. Another explanation for why the best leader is a servant stems from this question: Where does a king’s power come from? Divine right? Succession? No, a king’s power comes from his people. A king might have higher authority than his people, but he is supposed to use that power to benefit them, not himself. The problem with kings is they are simply people, and people are fallible.
God knew the Israelites would reject Him as their ruler and demand a physical king like all the other nations during the time of Moses. The Israelites rejected God as their king in 1st Samuel 8, but in Deuteronomy 17:14-20, God established rules for the kings of Israel. Aside from forbidding kings from having too many wives and not heading back toward Egypt, God said, “And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.”
The Bible does not tell us how many kings–if any–obeyed the Lord’s command in Deuteronomy. However, we do know that of the approximately 42 Jewish kings–including Saul, David, and Solomon–6 were righteous, 5 struggled to be, and about 31 were evil in the eyes of God. Even God’s directly anointed kings were not perfect. Saul was misguidedly selfish. David lusted after Bathsheba, murdered her husband, and carried on with conducting the census. Solomon fell away because he lusted after foreign women. As the ruler of the Israelites, God provided everything they needed to be safe and nourished. He truly strived for what was best for the Israelites (Deut. 30). Under the kings, the people succumbed to internal rebellions, wars with their neighbors, poverty, famine, and exile. The kings only sought what was best in their eyes, regardless of what the consequences meant for the people.
Despite all the terrible leaders the Old Testament talks about, there remained hope for God’s people. This is because He would one day bless His people with the King of kings, Jesus Christ. Jeremiah 23:5 reads, “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.” The Jews believed the Messiah would restore the physical Israelite kingdom and bring it to even greater heights. Jesus, however, put God above all else. Due to that, He was Israel’s most perfect king. His kingdom was spiritual instead of physical. Matthew 20:28 says, “Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus served His people by teaching, curing, and correcting them. Jesus also showed no partiality. He came to save everyone, even His enemies. That is why Jesus is the ultimate savior!
Jesus is the epitome of a leader because He earned not only the trust of people but also of God. Philippians 2:5-9 says, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name.” Serving others and putting their needs before your own are not the qualities of a lowly person. They are the traits of a righteous leader.