Jesus did not demand that His church wait on Him hand-and-foot, nor give him the first serving at a meal. Jesus was not a dictator, not the “king of the castle” as many men (heads of households) have styled themselves. Additionally, a servant-leader, just like Jesus, puts the needs of his family members first, before his own needs, and he leads them with a sacrificial love just as Jesus did, attending to the needs of all his family members, protecting them, providing for them, honoring and cherishing them, spending time with them, leading and teaching them. Jesus did not demand a “special chair” or the first cut of the meat or to be served first in social gatherings, etc. Jesus always led with Agape love in everything that He did, serving all those around Him. He set the example in love that He expects us, His spiritual children, to follow. So, this example of loving service is how the father in the family should style himself. The most important lessons I learned about being a servant-leader were in the military. I was taught by a good leader that “the troops eat first.” He meant that, when it came to food, mail delivery, best places to sit, getting served at the chow hall, getting food in field training, getting quartered for sleep, getting served at various agencies, you put the younger troops ahead of yourself and make sure that they are taken care of before my personal needs are met. I always did that with the troops who worked for me, whether they were privates, sergeants, warrant officers, lieutenants, captains, or majors. I always put them and their needs ahead of my own, serving them sacrificially just as my Lord Jesus would have done.
The great thing is that God’s ways always work out right, so my servant-leader style was very successful everywhere I practiced it, accomplishing the mission every time, getting the very best effort out of my troops, winning not only their obedience and respect, but also winning their hearts as they discovered that I was out for their best interest. I styled myself as a servant-leader, using the role of father as a template to define how I treated my troops. I would always ask myself how a loving father would treat his children, and the answers to that question became the actions I took with my subordinate troops in whatever job I had. I always treated them respectfully and kindly. I always respected their opinions and took those opinions into account with my decisions. I looked out for their best interest as much as possible. I supported them in their work and other endeavors outside of the workplace, encouraging them on the job, praising their good work so that they would know their importance to the overall team and organization, giving them latitude to accomplish the task at hand in their own way or style so long as the end result of mission accomplishment was met. And I treated all of them equally, not playing favorites, honoring and respecting them all the same.