How many of us feel uneasy when we are told that men, rather than women, are called to be "servant leaders?" Perhaps we are confused by this notion -- that men alone are to be "servant leaders" -- because it contains an important truth though it carries that truth only part of the way. What do I mean?
Scripture speaks of the Christian life, for both males and females, as one of service:
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, TNIV)
Jesus said that unlike the Gentiles who exercised authority over others, among his followers those who wanted to be first must become like slaves, just as Christ came not to be served, but to serve. There is no mention of gender in this important passage in Matthew, nor is there any mention of authority.
Similarly, Paul also said that he became a slave to everyone for the sake of the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:19). Paul became a slave not because he was male but because he was being renewed in the image of Christ. The gospel calls that all Christians take up their cross and follow Jesus, not because of their gender, but because of their desire to be followers of Jesus.
Celebrate the servant leadership of all God's people!
Mimi Haddad is president of Christians for Biblical Equality.