1 Kings 12:7 “And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever.”
Young Rehoboam was faced with a crucial decisions. The people were tired of Solomon’s heavy taxation and service load. All of the building projects undertaken by Solomon had worn them out. They came to his successor, Rehoboam, hoping for reprieve.
Now Rehoboam had to decide whether to lighten the people’s load or make it heavier. The older men gave the advice above, which turned out to be the right advice. The younger men said to make their burden heavier. Rehoboam took the advice of the younger men and lived to regret it. The people rebelled, the kingdom split, and he lost all but the tribe of Judah.
Rehoboam made the mistake that many of us make. We think leadership is about position and authority. We think we can tell people what to do and they should do it because we are over them. We think that effective leadership is about barking orders and being the commanding officer.
No doubt there are times that leader must lead by deciding what will be done, but he should earn the respect, trust and loyalty of his followers by being a servant. If he really desires to be an effective leadership, he must serve the people and love them. He must put their needs first and let them know that he genuinely has their best interests at heart. If he does that, the people will love him and follow him anywhere. They will be his “servants forever.”