“Servant-leader”. It’s a no-frills description of what every husband should aspire to be for his wife and family. How much simpler can it be? First of all, every Christ-like husband (or wife for that matter) begins as a diamond in the rough – a very carefully chosen one. If you were like me, you were intended (or are intended if you are single) to marry a person of integrity whose compass was firmly set on a lifetime of seeking God. Naturally, the time it takes to complete such a rigorous assessment, brings into light the awareness that areas of refinement are still underway. Thus, some marriage seasons have more “diamond” and other seasons more “rough.”
I’m honored my wife, Anne, saw was as a man she could entrust herself to for a lifetime. By the grace of God we are still pressing forward together, 37 years later. She is well aware of my shortcomings, as the close quarters of married life reveal everyone’s weaknesses. A man trying to always appear strong is like a toddler playing hide and seek with their parent, thinking mom can’t see them, though some part of their body is clearly exposed. Truth be told, my wife has played a major role in developing me into the man I am today and our foundation consists of many bricks that we placed together over the years. And some of those bricks she herself brought into reality on my behalf. Shared ownership of these times and mutual investment in the process builds marital equity.
The ultimate servant-leader is Christ himself
“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)
“He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Philippians 2:7)
It is plain to see, in the Gospel accounts, the manner in which Jesus served. And He is serving still, in His exalted place at the right hand of the Father. “Therefore He is able also to save forever (completely, perfectly, for eternity) those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede and intervene on their behalf [with God]” (Hebrews 7:25). As the Christ figure, a husband is the “burden bearer”, carrying the needs of his wife and family into the secret place of prayer. Herein lies our sustenance as the servant-leader. As Jesus is our priest in heaven, husbands are to be the priestly leaders in the home.
“For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church, his body, of which He is the Savior. Now as the Church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” (Ephesians. 5:23-24)
I love the clarity that the Message Bible lends here: “The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to His Church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the Church submits to Christ as He exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.”
A man’s wife and family need to feel his influence, to observe godly attributes in his character, and to have the security of knowing that he is seeking God for direction. Perhaps most importantly, a key quality of the servant-leader is spending quality time with family. Beyond a family devotion time or bedside prayers (all which are valuable), I believe the example of Jesus is the key. Yes, He taught in the synagogue and on the hillside, but there were also times around the fire, sharing meals, attending social functions, and of course miles and miles of hiking together across the countryside. Though Jesus was the busiest man in the world, tasked with an enormous workload, in a very small window of time, He managed to be unhurried in His interaction with those in whom He would reproduce himself. We have a legacy to impart, and that requires our time.
Let’s serve. Let’s lead.