But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves.
James A. Garfield has a remarkable history. He grew up in an Ohio log cabin—poor and fatherless—a youngster who worked in the fields to help feed his family. Wanting to improve himself, he read and attended school whenever possible. He enrolled in the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute in Hiram, Ohio, where he also worked as a janitor. The once student/janitor ultimately became the school’s leading professor, and in 1857, its president. A quarter-century later, he became the 20th President of the United States. In his teens he gave his heart and life to Jesus Christ—adding teacher and preacher to his resume.
The progress of his life—from poverty to humble service to knowledge to leadership—is a lesson for us. Everyone wants to be a leader in some form or fashion; but serving comes first. Serving others, in fact, is the very essence of leadership. Just as Garfield’s leadership was enriched by his years as a farm boy and janitor, so our leadership is strengthened in the humble acts of kindness and care we perform daily.
If you have the opportunity of either serving or leading, and you can only do one—serve!
Let me ask you to choose the undying Jesus as your everlasting Friend and Helper. Let me urge you to follow Him.
James A. Garfield