As King Solomon’s son Rehoboam was ascending the throne, he received some wise counsel:
If you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.
I also like the way The Message paraphrases this same verse:
If you will be a servant to this people, be considerate of their needs and respond with compassion, work things out with them, they’ll end up doing anything for you.
In other words: the more you serve, the better you will lead. Unfortunately, Rehoboam chose to reject this counsel, and his leadership disintegrated.
If you will be a servant [position] and serve [attitude] they will serve you.
This Hebrew word for serve is used quite a bit in the Old Testament. Interestingly, the first five times it is used are all in the agricultural sense: farming the land, tending to the plants, working, waiting, and ultimately harvesting. Leadership is never developed quickly. Servant leaders must be in it for the long haul.
Jesus also emphasized servant-leadership…
But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else.
Bottom line: The more you serve others, the better you will lead others.