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Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Mantle of Servant Leadership

By Gary Roberts
Robertson School of Government

Luke 12:47-49 (King James Version)
47And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. 49I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?

Christ commands us to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength and our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus demonstrated His love of the father by obeying him in all stages of his life, as a child, as an inquisitive youth, his early adulthood spent as a carpenter, and throughout his ministry from the testing in the wilderness, the agony of the Garden of Gethsemane, to his humiliation, separation and death on the cross. Because of his obedience, Jesus transformed defeat to eternal victory through the resurrection redeeming us from sin. Servant leadership is a high calling, as it requires dying to the self and promoting the interests of others over our own. If we love God, we will not only be hearers of the word, but doers as well. When we die to the self in the workplace, it produces a pleasant fruit that releases the presence and power of Christ to change lives. The MA program embraces servant leadership not as a utilitarian management tool that benefits the bottom line, but as an internalized value and character orientation that promotes golden rule love irrespective of the external consequences. We should issue a disclaimer regarding servant leadership. Knowledge of servant leadership principles absent their application leads to character growth stagnation. Knowledge of servant leadership principles and a superficial application generates hypocrisy ship wrecking the faith of others producing a bitter fruit of self-condemnation. To whom much is given, much is required. Let us all pledge as instructors and students to a relentless commitment to loving and leading others as Christ demonstrated, encouraging on a regular basis, teaching and counseling others, listening with open hearts and minds, investing our precious time in relationships, and providing accountability and loving discipline. To God be the glory!


  1. Appreciate your comments Dr. Roberts. Without application it is only good information and will fall flat. Practice is where it's at! And this practice is motivated by love--no wonder Jesus made it simple for us--love God and love others.
    Kathleen Patterson

  2. Thank you Dr. Patterson. Yes, the beauty of servant leadership lies in its emphasis on the Great Commandment. These foundational character attributes are impossible to consistently and effectively implement without the Holy Spirit's leading. Keep up your well doing.
    "O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD" (Ps 139:1-4).