Leading can be exciting. It can even be glamorous at times. The spotlight can captivate people in leadership positions. When I was in college, a classmate negatively referred to some people as “neon junkies.” What he meant by this designation is that people were seeking the spotlight. They wanted the attention. They wanted to have the neon lights shining on them and to have everyone see what they were doing.
The implication in craving attention is that people want to be praised. In leadership it is easy to bask in the praise of others. Now, granted, sometimes the comments people direct to leaders are not positive, but there are usually enough accolades to be found, if that is what someone is seeking.
While Jesus certainly drew attention because of His teachings and miracles, He did not seek to exalt Himself in the spotlight. Even though He is God incarnate, and therefore deserves the adoration of all creation, His attitude was not one of seeking attention and praise.
In Luke 22:26 Jesus said, “Let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.” In the last part of the next verse, Jesus further clarified His perspective when He said, “I am among you as the one who serves.” From this passage, we understand that leading like Jesus means leading by serving.
So, what does it look like to lead well as a servant leader? Let’s look at a few characteristics as demonstrated by Jesus.
How do these characteristics of Jesus’ leadership translate to us?
In a nutshell, following Jesus’ example of servant leadership means being humble and putting others ahead of ourselves. When we are seeking the spotlight (the neon lights), we are probably not serving or leading very well. So instead of being “neon junkies” and seeking the accolades of others, let’s ask what God wants us to do this week in order to demonstrate the heart of a servant as we lead?