Thursday, September 16, 2010

Servant leadership and paradox

I believe paradox is a perplexing truth that runs through the core of our existence. So, I was thrilled to locate the following writing on servant leadership. One example of the servant leader is modeled in the life of Jesus Christ, who being the Son of God, humbled himself and took on the role of servant. This modeling was exemplified in his washing of his disciples feet. He told them if anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last and servant of them all (Mark 9:35). Other great world leaders, such as Mahatma Gandhi, also modeled servant leadership.  Challenging and inspiring role models!

The Paradoxes of Servant Leadership
  • Strong enough to be weak
  • Successful enough to fail
  • Busy enough to make time
  • Wise enough to say "I don't know"
  • Serious enough to laugh
  • Rich enough to be poor
  • Right enough to say "I'm wrong"
  • Compassionate enough to discipline
  • Mature enough to be childlike
  • Important enough to be last
  • Planned enough to be spontaneous
  • Controlled enough to be flexible
  • Free enough to endure captivity
  • Knowledgeable enough to ask questions
  • Loving enough to be angry
  • Great enough to be anonymous
  • Responsible enough to play
  • Assured enough to be rejected
  • Victorious enough to lose
  • Industrious enough to relax
  • Leading enough to serve
Poem by Brewer --- as cited by Hansel, in Holy Sweat: the remarkable things ordinary people can do when they let God use them, Dallas Texas, Word, 1987. (p29)

It is through giving we receive is another of life's curious paradoxes that I've witnessed through volunteerism and donations to charity. 

Living in such an affluent society as the United States I'm also challenged by the topsy-turvy concept: We are as rich as our ability to do without things.  I've heard from people who have traveled to "third world nations" about how the people they met we extremely generous and joyful, despite living in economic poverty.  Now that's something to think about, isn't it?

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