Servant Leadership

….he leadeth me beside the still waters. Psalm 23:2b
 
This phrase was written over 2,500 years ago, and is found in the Bible in the 23rd Psalm. The entire Psalm is, perhaps, one of the finest summaries of servant leadership ever written. For now, though, let’s focus on this one phrase ‘he leadeth me beside the still waters’.
 
To appreciate the principle stated here, we must first understand the context. The whole Psalm draws on the analogy of a good shepherd and his flock. Shepherding of sheep and goats has been practiced throughout the entire history of man. For millennia, it was the standard of commerce and the way in which wealth was measured. Because of the importance of flocks, the chief shepherd was often one who carried significant weight and responsibility with the people among whom he worked and lived, as a negotiator and decision maker.
The good shepherd knew his sheep and was responsible for foreseeing and procuring their every need; food, still waters from which to drink, and protection from predators and thieves. An interesting thing about sheep is that they will not drink from a swiftly moving stream. So, the good shepherd will know where the still waters are and plan the grazing to accommodate access to those waters.
 
From these few facts, we can see the parallel between the good shepherd and the servant leader. The servant leader knows the needs of his people and anticipates them, even before the needs may be recognized. He assumes responsibility for the well-being of those placed in his charge and understands the environment in which they live. And, he does whatever is necessary to enable his ‘flock’ to thrive; he leads them…beside the still waters.