Lessons Library

A Serving Leader

In traditional African societies, leadership succession is a serious decision. After a king’s demise, great care is taken selecting the next ruler. Besides being from a royal family, the successor must be strong, fearless and sensible. Candidates are questions to determine if they will serve the people or rule with a heavy hand. The king’s successor needs to be someone who leads, but also serves.

  • How is succession done in military? Is there any consideration whether they will rule with a heavy hand or will they serve those that they lead?

  • How is succession in military similar and how is it different from the African societies, from our government and from our work situations?

  • Is serving others an important part in selecting a leader and if so, why?

The Bible tells us the story of Solomon, who processed unusual wisdom, however he made his own bad choices and he worried over his successor. Solomon asked the key question,

Who knows whether that person be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my efforts and skill (Essl 2:19).

Solomon’s son, Rehoboam was that successor. He demonstrated a lack of sound judgment and ended up fulfilling his father’s worst fear.

  • What was Solomon’s main concern about giving control to his son, Rehoboam?

  • Why did Solomon feel that way and can you think of any situations today in government, business, church, family, etc. where the current leader might feel that way

When the people requested more humane working conditions, it was an opportunity for Rehoboam to show servant leadership.

If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them… the elders advised, they will always be your servants (1 Kings 12:7).

But Rehoboam rejected their counsel. He failed to seek God.

His harsh response to the people divided the kingdom and accelerated the spiritual decline of God’s people 1 Kings 12:14-19.

Can you think of a situation in the military or civilian worlds where a new leader was put in-charge and they did not have servant leadership? What happened?

In the family, the workplace, at church, or in our neighborhood – we need His wisdom for the humility to serve rather than be served.