Suppose you just completed building a new house. Everything you and your spouse wanted is in the house---large rooms and closets, comfortable, new furniture, thick carpets and polished wood floors, large screen TVs, stereos, computers in every room, and a swimming pool and tennis courts outside. It's all there!

Your new house is a palace and it's yours. You and the family move in and enjoy the luxuries and comforts---you live in the large rooms, store your stuff in the closets with room to spare; sit and relax on the new, comfortable furniture; walk on the thick carpets and polished wood floors; watch TV, enjoy the stereo, use the computer; swim in the swimming pool and play tennis. It's great!

One day you decide you don't have to live in this huge house with all the luxuries and conveniences. You could live somewhere else---and that’s what you do. You sell the house and move to a small apartment in the poorest part of your town. With the money from the sale of the house, you feed the hungry, clothe the poor, provide free medical care for the sick, strengthen the weak, and comfort the lonely.

Do you know what you've done? You have given up something of yourself (your big house) to give to others. Their needs were more important than your comfort. THAT'S WHAT JESUS DID WHEN HE CAME TO THE EARTH. He gave up the riches, the benefits, the luxuries and privileges of Heaven, and even Heaven because our need for redemption was greater than His comfort.

Suppose I'm holding a $5 bill. With that bill, I can buy something for myself, or I can save it, put into a bank to earn interest for me. I can invest it, letting it earn more interest. OR, if I see that you have a need greater than my benefit, I can give you the $5. I don't have to use it for my pleasure. THAT'S WHAT JESUS DID. HE GAVE UP, NOT HIS DEITY, BUT THE PERSONAL BENEFITS OF HIS DEITY BECAUSE OUR IMPOVERISHMENT AS SINNERS MEANT MORE TO HIM THAN HIS PLEASURE. HE MADE THAT CHOICE.

Jesus lived to give. When He came in the form of a servant, He was not disguising who God is. He was revealing who God is. God is the Infinite Servant. He's the most humble being in all the universe. Jesus came as a servant to serve and to give precisely because HE IS GOD.

Servant Leaders, in whatever venue they lead, do the same thing. They live to give. They make that choice. They move from self-serving leadership (getting for themselves) to serving leadership (giving to others.) For a follower of Jesus, servant leadership isn't an option; it's a mandate.

— Fred Campbell, President of Living Grace Ministries, leads a one-day servant leadership workshop for church leaders. He can be reached at fred@livinggraceministries.com and www.livinggraceministries.com.