Humility and Servant Leadership: The Greatest Lesson Ever!
The scene: Circa 33 A.D. It is the time just before the traditional feast of the Passover. Darkness has fallen over the landscape just outside the Old City of Jerusalem. One by one and in small groups the Twelve Apostles and Disciples of Jesus gather at a home thought to be safe from the prying eyes of the authorities. As the men arrive they open the door at street level and proceed to trudge up a set of steep wooden steps leading to a large upper room furnished with a long table and chairs. The twelve men cordially greet each other and when they’re all present it’s time for the customary washing of feet by the lowest ranking household servant. But what did Jesus do; he proceeded to pour water into a basin, wrap a towel around his waist, kneel before a Disciple, and begin to wash his feet.
At first the Disciples’ are shocked by what Jesus is doing for he is Lord and Teacher and he is performing a task that no one really wants to do and therefore left to the “lowest of the lowly.”
Today we know that Jesus’ dramatic act of washing the feet of his Disciples just before his death was deliberately done to teach them a very important lesson of what it means to have a “servant’s heart” – to be willing to perform any task no matter how dirty or menial if it glorifies God and serves others.
The great lesson from this extraordinary story from the Bible (with some interpretation of my own) is that leaders in all walks of life need to have humility and a “servant’s heart” IF they are to truly capture the hearts and minds of their followers.