The world is full of leaders in all aspects of life. In reading the Gospel according to Matthew, we hear just what our Lord’s explanation of leadership is: “…but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:20-28).
Those who wish to lead had better be ready to serve. A leader, according to Merriam-Webster, is a guide or conductor. My grandfather was a conductor on the Pennsylvania Railroad. He once took me with him on his midnight run from Columbus to Pittsburgh.
What a thrill for an eight year old to ride and sleep on a train with his grandfather. He seemed to be in charge of the whole train. I was very proud of him. As far as I was concerned he owned the railroad. He seemed to know everyone. He must have introduced me to a hundred people that night.
As I watched him, he seemed to be so busy doing things for people to make them comfortable. He even looked after the other railroad workers on the train. I made it pretty well to Pittsburgh, but on the way back I got really sleepy. He found a place for me to lie down and asked a steward to keep an eye on me while he paced up and down the train taking care of things.
When granddad retired he did a lot of traveling and eventually moved to Florida. He would tell me stories about running into old railroad buddies and former passengers. It seemed that everywhere he went he would encounter someone he knew from his years on the railroad.
His leadership role on the railroad as a conductor sure did win him a bunch of friends. He was always ready to help people with their problems over the years. No matter what the request he seemed to find a way to help.
The Lord calls us to lead by serving. Just before Passover, Jesus met with the disciples and washed each of their feet. And afterward He said to them, “So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” (John 13:14-15).