From the start of Promise Keepers, major Christian leaders have told men they must reposition themselves to become servant leaders of their families. This new attitude of service for a man should first begin with his wife and then spread to his children, and then throughout every area of his life.
Men from every walk of life fill Promise Keepers' events. They receive instruction designed to help them in their view of God as Father as well as how they should be as a father. The excitement of these events can sometimes cause the man who is not accustomed to these views to begin taking deep introspection. The standard is lifted very high, and when some men hear they should be servant leaders in their homes it's received with mixed feelings. There are men who have never really served anyone but themselves who are now faced with the concept of placing everyone in front of themselves in order to lead. Many of these men have never had a true example of this level of servanthood in their lives. Therefore, it's a very different, and sometimes difficult, pill to swallow. I'm aware of how these men feel, because there were no servant examples in my life either. However, Almighty God sent godly men who understood what it meant to lead from a servant's position into my life.
Many men return home and attempt to put into practice what they heard over the weekend. It doesn't take long for them to find out how difficult this lifestyle really is. Some move away from the servant leader's position to become just the leader. Though the servant leader's position appears difficult, it's possible for every man to become one and succeed.
Promise Keepers' theme for a recent conference season comes from the 24th chapter of the book of Joshua: "Choose you this day whom ye shall serve!" The sub-topic was, "As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Over the years, many speakers and spiritual leaders have used this scripture as a subject. To understand Joshua's statement better, it should be approached in sections.
Joshua said, "As for me!" As a man of God, if you develop an "as for me" mentality, then you will always be in the position of a servant leader. When you read or make this statement for the first time, it may appear as though it is a command. However, in truth, it is a proclamation of what Joshua would do. He was not telling his family to do something he was not willing to do. Instead he was indicating the position he would take, and his family would follow. Men who would be servant leaders must allow the same words to come from their hearts, "As for me!"
Servant leaders are the ones who set the standard for everyone else to follow. Remember, Joshua did not say, "As for my wife, children, or neighbors." Rather, he would be the one who set the standard. Is this to say women and children do not have or cannot have responsibility? No! However, it does mean we will--as men of God--take a frontline position and say before God, "Look at me first for everything and everybody in my immediate family." Spiritual matters will not be handled by our wives while we watch or supervise.
Joshua continued by saying, "And my house," which shows not only ownership but responsibility. I love to tell men what this statement means for a servant leader. He must take responsibility for the dirty dishes, the vacuuming, the bills, the trash can, the bathrooms, and every other area of responsibility. His wife is the one who helps to meet these areas of responsibility, not to own them. In Genesis 2:18, God calls the woman a helpmeet. God had already placed the weight of the responsibility on the man through the order of creation. The man could not take the attitude that once the woman was created, he could sit back and watch her work. Many times, men want their wives to own the household responsibilities so that they can focus on their careers and/or expensive hobbies. Yet Joshua, a true servant leader, said, "My house!"
Look at the next part of Joshua's statement. He said, "We will serve." This is the first time he's included his family in the picture. Joshua's example before his family will cause them to do exactly what he has done and is doing. The important point about this level of service is in who they are serving, which brings me to the conclusion of Joshua's statement. They are serving "The LORD" together.
Now it becomes clear why Joshua is serving his wife and family and taking total responsibility for his house. He is leading them to the Lord! Joshua had already seen what happens to good men when they leave the Lord to serve other gods. He was not about to let this happen to his family.
Some have thought one dose of God per week is enough. These men may watch their wives taking the children to midweek services and prayer meetings. The servant leader is motivating everyone else around him to go to church. He knows about, and plans to attend, as many services as possible with his family. In those seasons when the entire family cannot go, they watch him walk out of the house, going to the house of God as their servant leader.
Can those who've missed opportunities to serve (or haven't known how to take advantage of them) still become the spiritual servant leaders of their families? The answer is, "Yes!" There are men who are living everything I've written about, who know that Promise Keepers and small-group meetings with other men helped them to change. We must understand that we are the men of the hour who can make a difference. So, choose ye this day whom you will serve.