Leo is a character in a story called “Journey to the East” by Hermann Hesse. I read an article by Robert Greenleaf for my latest class and learned about this character – Leo. The story is about a guy who joins this group of travelers headed to “the east” in search of “ultimate truth.” Leo is a simple servant among them who is described by Wikipedia as “happy, pleasant, handsome, beloved by everyone, having a rapport with animals – to a discerning reader, he seems a great deal more than a simple servant, but nobody in the pilgrimage, including the narrator, seems to get this.” When Leo disappears, the whole group begins to bicker and fight. Ultimately, the reader discovers that Leo was the leader all along. Although he first revealed himself as a humble servant, Leo was a very strong leader.
Anyway, all of this got me to thinking. Jesus was first revealed to us as a humble servant too – a baby in a manger, a man without a home who travelled the country helping/healing people, one who washes the feet of his friends, etc. I wonder if a pastor could be seen first as a servant? When a visitor arrives at a church, could the pastor be the guy out in the parking lot greeting people? or maybe he should be the guy serving doughnuts? or cleaning the restrooms? I would guess that in a smaller church or a new church plant, the pastor gets the opportunity to serve in all of these roles. But what about a big organization? Shouldn’t the leader still be a servant? I also start wondering who the real leaders are around my church? What would happen if the ushers didn’t show up? Who is the guy like Leo? Who is the guy that, if absent, the whole church would begin to argue and fight? Is my presence at the church in any way similar to Leo’s?
“The law of service: He who wishes to live long must serve, but he who wishes to rule does not live long.” – Hesse, “Journey to the East”