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Servant Leadership at Work: Insights from John 13:12-15

by | Oct 12, 2023

“When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” John 13:12-15 ESV 

Behind the Book: The gospel of John never provides the name of its author. Such identifications were not made in any of the other three biblical gospels either. However, two significant factors point to the identification of John as the author. First, the book itself identifies the author as the disciple whom Jesus loved. This description likely pointed to John for three reasons: the author had to be one of the twelve disciples because he was an eyewitness to the events in the gospel (John 21:24); he was probably one of the inner circle of three disciples (James, John, and Peter) because he was among the first Mary told of the resurrection (20:1–10); and this disciple is distinguished from Peter in the book, while James died too soon after the resurrection to be the author.

Faith and Work Application

  • Say it out-loud.
    • It’s easy to assume that everyone knows we should serve each other, especially as Christians. But as leaders in the workplace, we should actively remind others of the importance of serving others and putting our thoughts and words into action. Whether that be during in-person team meetings, or virtually in monthly newsletters. This outspoken reminder is for others and ourselves; it can serve as an intentional reminder to set time aside to serve others.
  • Set the example.
    • Be the one in your office to make the first move. Think about the “pay it forward” movement. A movement in which one small act of servitude creates a ripple effect of gratitude and kindness, often reaching more people than we can imagine. Think of serving others in the same light, that through serving one, you are truly influencing much more of God’s people and Kingdom. And as Jesus set the example for us, we should do the same for others.
  • Serve and be served
    • Asking and accepting help is just as important as serving others. Being vulnerable with others requires that we be humble. Accepting help demonstrates that we are not completely independent, that we all need each other. We are never alone in this life, and we are meant to rely on other people. We are offering our co-workers and network a chance to glorify God and serve His people when we allow them to serve us. If we’re constantly rejecting help, we’re not giving others a chance to “wash one another’s feet.”

Reflect

  • What does selflessly serving look like to you? Who can you selflessly serve this month?
  • What kind of example are you setting for others in your workplace? Are your actions ones you’d want others replicating?
  • Are you being open to letting others serve you at work? Whose help have you been rejecting? Why do you think this is?

Focused Prayer

Lord, help me understand what You have done for me. Help me remember that you are Lord and Teacher, and I have so much to learn from You as a leader at work. Give me the discernment to know how I can selflessly serve those around me and the courage to humble myself and allow Your people to serve me, too. I thank you for sending Your son, Jesus. I thank you for His servant heart, and may I learn from His examples and do unto others as He has done for me. Amen.

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Jessica Simms

Jessica joined the Workmatters team in July of 2021. She was born and raised in New Jersey and lived in Louisiana and Texas before finding her home in Arkansas in 2019. Jessica is an avid Razorback fan and has twin daughters, Austin and Kendall. She is also a member of Cross Church-Fayetteville and is a WMI-Arkansas alumna.