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It massages the egos of some aspiring leaders when they hear the advice that they should be tough and strong and careful to avoid fraternization with subordinates.

This line of thinking presumes a measure of superiority based on a higher station in life.

You’re in management because you are more important than those working under you,” the lie goes.

Sadly, we’ve all seen people in management who act as if they actually believe this stuff.

It’s a stressful situation for everybody involved in such a setting.

I’ve observed that workplaces are so much less stressful and so much more efficient when managers view subordinates as team members rather than expendable hirelings.

And so it is with the enterprise of ministry with congregational volunteers.

I don’t know how many of your job supervisors over the years have been Bible readers, but perhaps you’ve been blessed with at least one manager who unknowingly embraced the leadership principle described I Kings 12:7. And when this mindset prevails among congregational leaders, church life is so much nicer and more fruitful.

The context of the passage is this — King Solomon had died and his son Rehaboam had taken over as king of Israel. Members of 10 tribes from the northern part of Israel came to Rehaboam and asked for lower taxes than what Solomon had been imposing.

Rehaboam said he needed three days to come up with a response and during that time, he asked his father’s aged advisors what he should do about the tax rate and then he asked young advisors with whom he had grown up.

The wisdom of the older advisors was profound:

They replied, ‘If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.’” (I Kings 12:7)

Rehaboam chose to reject the advice of imposing lower taxes and instead followed the advice of his buddies and promised higher taxes.

You see, Rehaboam didn’t care about the economic frustration felt by the northern tribes. He wanted more money for himself and he wanted to be known as a “Mr. Tough Guy” king.

His foolishness immediately led to his receiving NO taxes from the 10 tribes because they rebelled and split off from Israel, launching centuries of animosity and periodic war.

Listen, those of us in leadership always do better when we are committed to serving others, especially those on our team of subordinates.

Jesus was the poster child for this principle. And He still is.

That’s why you and I are serving Him.

He served us first.

Be a servant first in all things. You’ll have so much more influence that way.

As always, I love you

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