1 Kings 12:6-7 Then King Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had served his father Solomon when he was alive, asking, “How do you advise me to respond to these people? ” They replied, “Today if you will be a servant to these people and serve them, and if you respond to them by speaking kind words to them, they will be your servants forever.”
King Rehoboam had a choice. You see his father became a heavy in the latter days of his life. So the people came to the new king and asked him to let up a bit. They asked him to be nice to them and treat them well. So like a good king, he asked his advisors what he should do. Verse 7 is the response of the elders. They said he should serve the people. But that didn’t sound too exciting to the king, so he asked his buddies for some advice.
Now there are two big takeaways here in this story. The first is that we ought to be mindful of who are asking advice from. Rehoboam decided to take the advice of his buddies over the advice of the elders. Because of it, he lost the throne. It was bad advice: they told him to be more mean! Sometimes we start asking around for advice until we find someone who agrees with us. Just because our buddies agree with us, doesn’t make them right. So if you are going to ask for advice from someone, make sure it is someone who has a clue. Make sure it is someone with wisdom who is willing to give you the truth regardless of your opinions and feelings.
Secondly, there’s this whole issue around servant leadership. The wise ones told the king that the best leader is one who sees his position of authority as a means to serve others. I happen to completely agree with those elders. He should have listened! Our greatest opportunity as a leader is to enable others to reach their full potential. If we can do that, everyone will succeed. A leader has to see beyond what he wants out of his people. He needs to serve his people and help them be their best. He needs to win their hearts if he is going to win their allegiance. And that happens when a leader is willing to be a servant.