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Is It Difficult To Be a Servant of God Today?

Upland, CA — Oftentimes when we hear the word servant or servanthood, we think of someone who is meek and mild, maybe even a little soft, and weak.  However, being a true servant takes a lot of strength that goes beyond our own might and could never be achieved by our own power. The world recently lost such a man, Reverend Doctor Cecil “Chip” Murray. He was a beacon of light to everyone that had a chance to encounter him, and I was one of those fortunate individuals that had a chance to interact with him for close to three decades.  He was the epitome of a servant leader.

Alvin D. Stafford Jr., Pastor of Bethel MBC of South Los Angeles says, “What do you say about a man who has done so much, meant so much, given so much and encouraged so many? You simply say thank you! Pastor Cecil Chip Murray, thank you for yielding to the voice of God and doing it with such love, humility, and grace. You are loved and appreciated beyond measure. May the work you have done speak for you. To God be the glory for your life!”

One definition of a servant leader is a philosophy based on the leader serving their team members and thinking of them even above themselves. Empowering them and supporting them to achieve their fullest potential. They tend to be concerned with the whole person and not just the bottom line.  Servant leaders also cultivate trust because they listen to those they are serving and making them feel they matter. We live in a world where most people are more concerned about themselves and what is in it for them that being a servant to others never crosses their mind.  What I have learned is when you uplift others, care about what concerns them, and you show you genuinely care about them, everyone wins.

When I think of a dedicated servant leader, I think of words such as empathy, compassion, and collaboration. When I think of what I experienced and many other people in the community about Dr. Murray, he exemplifies each of those qualities.  Whenever I needed to reach out to him, he readily made himself available.  He would look you directly in your face as if you were the only one that mattered, and at the moment, you were. His smile would brighten any room he walked into, and although he had a bigger than life smile, underneath it all he was vigilant at standing up for the underdog and those that needed an advocate. We can all take a page from his playbook on how to serve others.

Most people are familiar with Reverend Murray’s pastorship at First A.M.E. Church for 27 years or his work as the chair of Christian Ethics in the School of Religion at USC, but his presence goes way beyond.  He was the people’s pastor.  He was very instrumental in helping bring jobs, programs, and even housing into the community. He was a sought-out leader by several presidents including President William Clinton and President George W. Bush, who named the “177th Point of Light” as part of his Points of Light nonprofit initiative.  Dr. Murray’s work often brought peace out of chaos.  From the fallout of Rodney King in 1992, he was very instrumental in calming and helping to rebuild the city of Los Angeles. He was a Peacekeeper.

Reverend Doctor Cecil “Chip” Murray may be gone from this earth, but his work and commitment to others will live on in the lives of the people he touched and served. Not just because he was the pastor of the church on the hill, or as a professor at an elite university, but because he was able to touch the lives and hearts of the ordinary person who just happened to cross his path. His life and legacy are what true servanthood looks like. Faith over power, people over position, and God over politics. Job well done thy good and faithful servant.

Healing Without Hate: It’s a choice. It’s a lifestyle. Pass it on.

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is a life strategist, coach, consultant, author, and speaker.

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