Servant Leadership - The Warrior's Journey®

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“So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, …For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain.” (1 Thessalonians 3:1-2, 5) 

Here Paul gives us the occasion and purpose of this letter to the Thessalonian church. If you read Acts 17:1-9 you’ll see that Paul and Silas (Silvanus) spent only a month in the city of Thessalonica. There Paul and Silas reasoned with the Jews at the synagogue for three consecutive Sabbaths. Some of the Jews believed in Jesus. But a “great multitude” of the gentiles also believed in Christ and this so angered the unbelieving Jews that they instigated a persecution against the Christian believers. 

Paul and Silas were required to leave the city. So they traveled to the next town, Berea, where they again testified about Jesus in the synagogue. But the hostile Jews from Thessalonica traveled to Berea and drove Paul from there as well.  Silas and Timothy remained Berea, however, to nurture the faith of the converts there (Acts 17:10-15). After the three met again down in Athens and Corinth, Paul sent Timothy back to help and encourage the Thessalonian believers. He knew the unbelieving Jews in Thessalonica were very hostile to the believers and would be persecuting them. In fact, Paul describes his concern for them as being so great that he “could bear it no longer” (1 Thessalonians 3:1, 5).  In 2 Corinthians 7:5-7 and 11:27-29, Paul described that same agonizing concern he had for the condition of the Corinthian church.  And as the good report of Titus brought Paul great relief and joy about the Corinthians, even so Timothy’s good report about the Thessalonians did the same for Paul. 

Paul exhibits the heart of a true biblical leader, a servant leader. He did not use his position of authority to be a dictator over his converts. He didn’t get any psychological kicks by bossing them around or treating them like servants. He didn’t even take money from them to support himself, lest he be a burden. Paul describes himself as a deeply concerned parent who makes great sacrifices on their behalf and unceasingly prays for their faith and spiritual wellbeing (1 Thessalonians 2:9-12). This is what servant leadership is all about. Jesus said that anyone who wishes to be great in the Kingdom of God must be a servant and whoever wants to be first must be the servant of all (Mark 9:43-44). Paul lived and breathed to save the lost and to build up believers. 


  • Are you in a leadership position? Do you regard yourself as a servant of those in your charge, putting their needs before your own and seeking the wellbeing of your subordinates? What does the military think of toxic leaders, those who only take care of themselves?  What does Christ think of such leaders?   
  • Christ’s model of leadership matches the military’s. Let’s follow Jesus’ example. 

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