The Blessings of Servant Leadership

Wendy Blight

Day: 19 | Plan: Joshua-Judges

Today’s Reading: Joshua 19

Joshua 19:49 (NIV) “When they had finished dividing the land into its allotted portions, the Israelites gave Joshua son of Nun an inheritance among them,”

What does it mean to be a “servant leader”? We need only spend time with Joshua to capture the spirit of this power-packed phrase.

When the time came to divide up the Promised Land, Joshua could have demanded the first and the best for himself and his family. He had earned it, right? He and Caleb risked their lives when they spied out the land of Canaan for Moses all those years ago. (Numbers 13:25–14:10) Joshua then faithfully served the Israelites as Moses’ right-hand man throughout their 40 years in the wilderness. And he obediently stepped into the shoes of Moses and served as their mighty military leader to lead the charge into Canaan.

Surely, Joshua had earned the right to receive the best of what they conquered. Instead, he humbly waited until all the other tribes had received their allotments. Joshua waited for the people to give him his portion, rather than taking it.

What land did he request? Joshua asked for a city in Ephraim, the land which belonged to his own tribe. It is also the land where Joshua had set up the tabernacle. I love that his choice allowed him to be close to the presence of the Lord.

Joshua did not choose the fertile, fruitful land he had spied decades before. He chose the city of Timnath Serah, a rugged, infertile, mountainous area that would need much work and building.

We have had the privilege of observing Joshua’s transition from Moses’ assistant to Israel’s military leader to land administrator and finally now to city dweller and builder. What an amazing pilgrimage!

Joshua modeled true greatness. And it’s not what the world defines as greatness … power, prestige, position, possessions and popularity. No, his greatness is about humility, serving, waiting, obeying. It’s putting others before ourselves. It’s about diligence to the very end.

It’s Jesus’ message lived out before our eyes centuries before Jesus ever walked this earth.

“Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’” (Matthew 20:25-28).

Friend, let’s find one way today to live more like Joshua. Maybe we’ll give up that close parking spot at the mall. Maybe we’ll let another go in front of us in line at the grocery store. Maybe we’ll let that driver cut in on the freeway. Maybe we’ll take time to listen to and value the server at our favorite restaurant.

Prayer: Father, thank You for the life of Joshua. For his beautiful example of servant leadership. Humble my heart and enable me to live selflessly and graciously as I move throughout my day. Take my eyes off me and place them on others. Give me an opportunity to serve and bless another today. Open my eyes to see it and give me the courage to take it. In Jesus’ name, amen.

More Moments:

In Joshua 19 we also learn of the tribal land allotments for Simeon, Zebulun, Issachar, Asher,... Read More

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