Real-Time Servant Leadership
White sneakers, pink sweater, and a high ponytail. I was not expecting a lesson on leadership to come from this unassuming student in my Grade 9 foods class.
I sat at my desk and watched in amazement as she partnered with another girl, a student with special needs. A special girl with a bright smile and enthusiasm for life, but one that many other students would easily ignore. I watched as she helped tie her apron, a simple task her own hands were unable to perform. I watched as they gathered supplies, cooked, and cleaned together. I watched as she kindly and slowly demonstrated how to fold the fresh towels. Her patience and love for this student was nothing short of a miracle. And if you have any experience with Grade 9 girls, you know this to be true. It was all I could do to keep from crying.
Witnessing a humble servant-heart firsthand is truly a miracle to behold. It is an act of living out who we are created to be, it fights against what this world values, and even sometimes fights what I value.
I grew up going to a very sports-focused summer camp. Every year we would be assigned to a team and would compete daily to see who would rack up the most points to win the highly coveted awards on the last night of camp. In my grade 8 year, I was shocked to be presented with the “most sportsmanlike female” award during the wrap-up banquet. Reflecting back on the week I knew it was because I had cheered on my teammates and even those we played against with such an adamant joy.
The following year I decided I would try and win the award again. So I cheered my heart out. I cheered for my team, I cheered for the other team, I made cheering for others my sport. And if the important award-giving-out adults were observing I cheered even harder. Even at that young age I knew there was a difference between who I really was and who I could present myself to be.
I didn’t win the award. I was crushed. I had performed so well…
This story came to mind today as I watched humble servant-leadership in my classroom. There was no award. There was no praise. And in some ways for her sake, I hope she doesn’t receive it and then turn her attention to striving for it instead of simply living out who she is called to be.
It has taken many years of my un-doing to realize that who I am is the person I am when no one is looking. I need to be the same person when the spotlight is off and the crowd has left.
“Put your heart and soul into every activity you do, as though you are doing it for the Lord himself and not merely for others” Colossians 3:23 TPT
By Jaclyn Weidner
Jaclyn is a wife, mother, and high school teacher. She has been married to Brendan for 12 years and together they raise their 3 girls in Cloverdale where he is the Area Director for Young Life and where she has just begun to serve the women of Pacific Community Church.
She is passionate about seeing women find freedom from all that hinders through a relationship with Christ and loves to do so through speaking and writing.