Why I Pray for Servant Leadership in Zambia
The greatest prayer need in Zambia is for servant leaders.
Much of the suffering in Zambia is due to a desperate shortage of servant leaders. Numerous high positions of every sort are occupied by people whose lust for power, control or profit blinds them to even the most elementary decencies. Much worse for the followers is that we love such leaders.
Why do we follow leaders who lust for power and control?
We love leaders whom we will serve. We like to see financially successful leaders (even though we have no idea how they got their riches) because we believe if they are successful, we will be ushered in that direction too. When we join a political party, we become a disciple and helper of that leader. In the same way, when we become a member of a local church, we become a helper of that bishop, apostle or reverend— whichever title you use.
Much of the suffering in Zambia is due to a desperate shortage of servant leaders.
In Zambia, members of a political party or a local church become the leader’s benefactors. It is not the other way around. In the process, we do not hold them accountable because if we do, we will be accused of raising a finger against God’s anointed and in the process we will be regarded as cursed.
But Jesus leads differently.
Many of us do not understand that when we become Christians, we do not become Christ’s benefactor. We do not become His servant. It is Jesus who becomes our servant. (Mark 10:45)
Jesus does not need our help; he commands our obedience and offers his help. This is why becoming a Christian is a humbling thing. When we become Christians, we are confessing that we need help. And we turn to Christ and say, “we can’t be or do what we know we are supposed to be and do. We are desperate. We need something way beyond what is inside of us or in any other ordinary person. We need you. We turn to you. We have nothing to offer in trade or purchase. We trust you, Lord Jesus to show us mercy and grace. We trust you to be our servant.”
We know the apostles called themselves the “servant of Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:1; James 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1) This is not a contradiction of what Jesus is teaching in Mark.
What it means to be a servant leader like Jesus.
The idea of a servant is being used in two different ways. We are the servants of Jesus in that we submit to his authority and his right to tell us to do whatever he pleases. But we are not his servants in the sense that he needs our help and that his business in the world is sustained by our energy. He is not our servant in the sense that we command him how to live. He is our servant in the sense that he uses all his divine resources to help us and strengthen us and guide us and support us and provide for our need. And this what members of the church should expect from their church leaders. This is what members of a political party should expect from their leaders.
The Christian life is a life of serving others in the strength that he, as our servant, supplies to us.
When we submit to Jesus in that way, He makes heroes out of us. He told his disciples you will do greater things than what I do. Christ becomes our servant. And when he does, all of his other fundamental commands are no longer things we do for him, but things he enables us to do for others.
The Christian life means serving others through Jesus’ strength.
The Christian life is a life of serving others in the strength that he, as our servant, supplies to us. It is loving others with the love he gives us as our servant. It is sacrificing and suffering with the hope and joy and patience that he gives us as our servant.
Zambia needs Christian church and political leaders who walk in the shadow of our servant King. Let our prayer this season be that our leaders will be committed to staying in the path where they love to serve God’s people and make heroes out of them, not the other way round. Let us follow leaders whose aspiration isn’t financial success but selfless servitude.
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