By Roffie Ensey
Attitude of a Servant
Some women become a part of the ministry with visions of power and popularity in their heads. They envision themselves on an ivory pedestal with multiplied numbers of followers who are existing only to accomplish their will. This is not the way it is, nor should it be. Leaders are made for people, not people for leaders.
A basic human need is for guidance. In the Bible people are compared to sheep. Sheep cannot be driven like cattle. Neither can they simply be told what to do and left on their own. The shepherd must lead them. Your husband is the shepherd and you are the shepherdess! This puts you in a position of leadership. What does the Bible have to say about those who want to be good leaders? Let us look into the Word and see what Jesus said about leadership.
Jesus knew the time was come for Him to go to the cross. He knew He would not be with His disciples long and no doubt there was probably some searching going on in His mind. I have tried to imagine how He felt that day, knowing that much of the success of His ministry in the future would depend on these men. No doubt He was thinking, “What can I say to reinforce everything I have tried to teach them over the past three years?” However, words did not seem sufficient to convey the message He wanted them to get.
As we read the account of those last hours, we find that Jesus did not cover the highlights of the Sermon on the Mount. Nor did he give them a list of the top twenty principles of life. He simply got up, girded a towel around His waist, took a basin of water and began to wash His disciples’ feet.
When the disciples came into the room that evening, there was no servant to wash their feet as was the custom of that day. We can gather from what we read that each of the disciples thought he was above washing feet. So, in this last hour with His disciples, Jesus chose to teach by actions, rather than preach with words.
It has been said that actions speak louder than words, and how true that statement is (I Samuel 2:3). Jesus’ action and attitude expressed His servant’s role (Isaiah 53:11). In Matthew 20:26, 27 Jesus said “But it shall not be so among you, but whosoever shall be great among you, let him be your minister and whosoever shall be chief among you, let him be your servant.”
The setting for this scripture was when the mother of James and John came to Jesus desiring that her sons be allowed to sit with Him in His kingdom, one on the right side and one on the left. When the other disciples heard this mother’s request, they were indignant. Knowing their thoughts, Jesus gave his disciples this principle to live by—if you want to be great, if you want to be a leader, then learn to be a servant!
In His last hour Jesus reinforced this principle by His actions. He knew who He was, where He had come from, and where He was going. He was confident enough to assume the attitude of a servant and to teach His disciples by His example. All of your teaching will be in vain unless you have the attitude of a servant. Remembering who you are (a child of the King), where you came from (the pigpen of sin), and where you are going (to a mansion He is preparing) should give you the confidence to assume the attitude of a servant.
The attitude of a servant is having the best interests of others in mind. It is one that does not entertain the thought of what will they do for me in return, but rather that I want the best for them regardless of how they feel about me or what they do for me. You will know whether or not you have the attitude of a servant by your reaction when you are treated like one.
There are two types of servants talked about in the Bible:
- Hired Servant. This servant received wages and had civil rights. If he did not like the working conditions, he could quit. If he thought he should be paid more he could complain.
- Bond Servant. This servant received no wages. He belonged to his master. He had no civil rights.
Let’s consider the parable of service in Luke 17:710. This servant came in from a hard day in the field. He was tired, hungry, and thirsty. His master said, “Prepare me a meal, serve me, and then you can eat.”
This servant obeyed and did not grumble or complain. He didn’t go out the next day and start marching in the street for equal rights. Nor do we read where he spread ill will among his fellow laborers. The most amazing thing about this story is that Jesus said this man should not even be thanked because he only did what he should have done!
At the 15th anniversary service for a pastor, one of the men in the church stood to give tribute to the pastor and his family. He made this statement: “If I had to describe my pastor’s family with only one word, I would use ‘giving’!” That is what the attitude of a servant is all about—giving, with no thought of what you will get in return. When you give unselfishly to others, maintaining the attitude of a servant, you will be loved and respected. Others will want to serve you!
Bearing of a Queen
The word “queen” speaks of royalty. To be considered true royalty, you must be born into the royal family so you come from the right blood line. As born again children of the King of Kings we are royalty. Here are some interesting things about true royalty:
- Those in the royal family are trained to have self-control and discipline in their lives. They are trained to dress a certain way in order to represent their country and family well.
- Duty and responsibility are ingrained into their lives.
- Selfishness and greed cannot be a part of their thinking.
- True royalty presents a united front to others. They do not talk about family problems outside the family because that is considered in poor taste.
As spiritual royalty we should have these same attributes in our lives. We are not citizens of this world, we are just passing through. As spiritual royalty we should strive to represent our country well and not look at responsibility and duty as a burden. Selfishness and greed should have no part in our thinking.
It is interesting to note that virtually everybody is interested in what royalty does. We should live in such a way that others would want to be a part of our family. If we present a united front, live a contented life, and express the joy of the Holy Ghost in our daily living, then others will want to know what makes the difference.
Three attributes of spiritual royalty we should strive for are:
- A Right Attitude toward God
Maintain a confident faith in God. “I will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee” (Isaiah 26:3). Trust God with your daily life. When you commit your life to God you are in His hands. Circumstances may appear to be uncontrollable, but God is in control! He has a plan and He is working His plan.
Dwell in the tent of contentment. Paul said, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11). “Let your conversation be without covetousness: and be content with such things as you have: for He said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).
Develop a relationship with God. The person who is conscious of God’s abiding presence will show it in his countenance: “Those who look to Him are radiant, their faces are never covered with shame” (Psalm 34:5 NIV).
“Favor is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman that feareth the Lord she shall be praised” (Psalm 31:30). The passing years will bring wrinkles to your face, your hair will fade and lose its color, your muscles will lose their firmness, and your steps will slow. However, nothing can destroy the inner beauty that comes from having a right attitude toward God.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross once stated, “Stained glass windows sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light within.” A right attitude toward God will maintain that inner glow.
- A Right Attitude toward Yourself
Having a right attitude toward self means understanding that God made each of us to be different. It is not who I am but who He is and my relationship with Him that makes the difference. A sense of wholeness comes from this relationship with God. Understand that He has a place and purpose for each one in His kingdom. If He had wanted everyone to be clones of some great minister’s wife, He could have done that, but that is not what He wanted. He knew you before He chose you, and He has a special place for you in His kingdom. So don’t try to mimic or copy someone you admire. Be yourself, be real, and let God use you!
- A Right Attitude toward Others
The previously told story of Bobby Leach, an Englishman who went over Niagara Falls in a barrel without serious harm, would be applicable here. There is a beautiful spiritual lesson in his story. We are aware of what we consider the big things that might come our way to destroy our walk with God and take precautions against them. But many times we forget to watch for the little sins of the spirit which include bitterness, jealousy, envy, hatred, etc. These sins of the spirit are cancers of the soul. They are insidious little sins that start small and grow until they consume the person who harbors them. Our daily prayer should be, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me…Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer” (Psalm 51:10; Psalm 19:14).
Endeavor to apply the standards of love listed in I Corinthians 13 to all relationships in your life, and you will have a right attitude toward others.
There are also outward indications of royalty that should be developed in your life. Stand straight and tall. Walk with dignity. Sit like a lady and teach your ladies to do likewise. You actually teach best by your example. Set a pattern of godliness wherever you go, so that people will desire what you have in your life that makes you such a pleasant person.
Clothes of a Leader
As we focus on the clothes you should wear as a leader there are three questions that need to be answered:
- Who am I?
You are the daughter of a King—that makes you royalty. You have been chosen of God to be a minister’s wife, and that makes you a leader among women. As a leader you have your own sphere of those you will influence for good that no one else may reach.
- Whom do I represent?
First, you represent another world—you are an ambassador of Christ. Second, you represent your husband, the church you are serving, the people in that church, and the body of Christ.
- What am I saying by the way I dress?
A woman expresses a considerable amount about herself by the way she dresses. One who goes to the mall or grocery store looking like a maid who’s been cleaning for hours, tells the world she doesn’t think much of herself or her position. On the other hand, overemphasis on dress is showing the world your expertise in fashion rather than showing them Jesus. A minister’s wife should dress stylish, but not faddish. Those who are always the first to wear the latest fads impress others, but it is a negative impression.
Exodus 28 describes the priestly robes designed by God. These robes were designed to bring honor and dignity to the office of the priest. The way a minister’s wife dresses should bring honor and dignity to the office she holds.
You may ask, “What is best for me to wear? What will bring honor and dignity to the office of a minister’s wife?” Here are some guidelines that will help you in decision making:
- Avoid clothing that draws attention to the body. Examples of this would be long slits or open pleats, low necklines, material too thin, too tight, too short, etc. (i.e., don’t advertise something you do not plan to sell.) If you, by the way you dress, cause someone else to sin, will you be held blameless? Does the way you dress point others to Jesus or your carnality?
- Stay with the classic conservative styles and dress your age. A married woman should not try to look like a teenager. Because a minister’s wife has to dress up more than most, they sometimes have to wear their dresses longer, and classics will stay in style.
- Try to avoid loud, busy patterns. An outstanding pattern will be remembered (“Oh, you’ve got that dress on again!”) which causes you to tire of it more quickly. You should dress so that others see you and not the clothes (i.e., evaluate the dress: Will others just see bright flowers or stripes that cause their eyes to cross? Will they see the dress before they see you?).
- Choose the colors you wear carefully. That orchid dress may be beautiful, but the color may not look good on you. Choose colors that brighten rather than those that give a washed out look.
- Practice good grooming habits. It is hard to have the bearing a queen when…
… you are worried that your slip is showing.
…you are afraid someone will notice the run in your hose.
…you have used pins where buttons should be sewed on.
…the hem is out of your dress.
…you have sweat circles under your arms and body odor.
…your hair is so dirty it looks like it’s time for an oil change.
Whatever you have to wear, if you practice good grooming habits and always try to reflect a godly image, you will be respected wherever you go. You may not have the most expensive clothes (you may not own one designer outfit) but that is not necessary in order to dress nice. One of the best-dressed minister’s wives I know makes all her own clothes.
A Final Note
No one wants to just be average, because average is the best of the worst and the worst of the best, the bottom of the top and the top of the bottom. Average is just mediocre. Strive to be the best for the One who gave His all for us! Strive for the…
…Attitude of a Servant
…Bearing of a Queen
…Clothes of a Leader
This article “The ABC’s of Leadership” was excerpted from: The Role of the Shepherdess by Roffie Ensey. Copyright 2000. It may be used for study & research purposes only.