The purpose of service is to make things functional, easier or better. Service is the action of helping or doing work for someone. People are appointed to positions to serve or lead in other to make the job of the boss easier or the life of the constituents they serve better. In other words, they promote the interest of the people they represent by lightening their load.
It is important to know your purpose, assignment or role in a relationship or any position that you occupy. This should serve as a guiding light in your decision-making process.
Moses was advised by his father-in-law to appoint different levels of leaders to make his load of serving the people lighter (Exodus 18:13 – 26). Unfortunately, some of the same leaders he appointed developed an overinflated opinion about themselves and rebelled against him (Numbers 16:1 -4). They ended up making his work to become more difficult.
When Rehoboam was made King, the people asked him to lighten the harsh labor and heavy yoke King Solomon had put on them and they will serve him. He refused and even threatened to increase their hardship. This error in judgment cost him the majority of his kingdom (1 Kings 12: 1 – 17). Jesus denounced the Pharisees because they misplaced their priorities and loaded people down with burdens they can hardly carry and also refused to help them with it (Luke 11:46).
What holds people back from performing the role expected of them?
1. Having an overinflated opinion of themselves. When people have an overinflated opinion of themselves they tend to overreach themselves. They tend to believe they are worth more in their own eyes and believe they possess certain powers that don’t exist. They have an excessively favourable opinion of their abilities. People who find themselves in responsibilities that they are not qualified for are most times susceptible to this. The Bible warns against giving recent converts leadership roles so that they will not become conceited and fall under the same judgment the devil fell into (1 Tim 3:6). They tend to reach out for what is not theirs to take and make decisions that are beyond the authority given to them. They also tend to view themselves as equal or more capable than the person that appointed them. Like King Saul, the humility they once possess is no longer found. This is pride.
2. False sense of security. This is an offspring of pride. When people believe that they are entitled to their position they tend to take things for granted. They no longer believe in doing the hard work that got them where they are today. People exist to serve them and not the other way round. With this comes contempt and disrespect for others. Since they no longer value the people they represent, they see no need to care for them or make their concern a priority in their decision-making.
3. Misplaced priorities. To perpetuate the reign or self – importance, they make the task of their people difficult and the process of solving problems becomes a mystery only the leader has the capacity to resolve. The goal of leadership is to serve. The goal of service is to solve problems or make hard things simple. The Pharisees saw themselves first as custodians of the law whose primary responsibility is to make the law grand and to be quick to point out those who have transgressed the law rather than the people’s representatives before God, whose role is to help people to obey God’s law by enlightening them in way they can understand God’s way and obey Him.
How then can we be able to perform our role as expected?
1. We should not think of ourselves more than we should. Be sober in your estimation of your abilities. Remember that no one is indispensable and we all need help in one area or the other.
2. Count your role as a privilege to serve. With that mindset, you will be able to remind yourself that it is not about you but about the people who have put their trust in you.
3. Make yourself accountable to those you are responsible to or for. We are more conscious of our actions when we know we have to give an account of our stewardship.
4. Develop a healthy balance on how you handle praise or criticism. When we personalize the praise or criticism we receive, it can be destructive. Excessive praise inflates our ego while destructive criticism deflates our self-worth.
5. Remember that leadership is about solving problems. Consider how you can make the life of people around you better and not worse than you met it. That is how to be a blessing – by lightening the load that people carry.