Leadership Is … An Oxymoron #371

An Oxymoron is the combination of two previously contradictory terms used together to form a new concept which takes on a new meaning and life of its own.

Servant Leadership is an oxymoron. A definition of Servant might be, ‘one who serves, cleans, cares, guides and prepares the way for another’. There are 279 Biblical references to serve, 731 to servant for a total of 1010 references in the New International Version. 

A definition of Leader might be ‘One who guides, influences and shows the way.’ There are 560 Biblical references to lead, 204 to leader and 4 to leadership for a total of 768 references in the New International version.

Now, combine the two concepts and our definition of a Servant Leader is; ‘A person who leads by serving.’ By combining the references to serve or lead we have 1778 Scriptural references.  With that many references, God must feel it’s important!

Christ set the example. He upset the culture and tradition of the day by taking the role of a servant and washing feet. He told His disciples they should follow His example. As a Christian Servant Leader, Christ suggests you and I are first and foremost, a servant. “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all”. (Mark 9:35 NIV) Christ confirms the example again, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve”. (Mark 10:45 NIV) Nehemiah, the great builder of the Old Testament was a servant first, “I was cupbearer to the king.” (Nehemiah 1:11 NIV)

Let’s prayerfully re-focus at home, at church and in our work with a God directed attitude of Servant Leadership.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy

Leadership Coach

Author of Leadership is Devotions for Servant Leaders