Who Is ‘We,’ Kemosabe?
5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. 6 Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. 7 Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 8 Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.
9 Masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Don’t threaten them; remember, you both have the same Master in heaven, and he has no favorites. (NLT)
The lines between servant and leader can often become fuzzy – especially when we lose sight of how we are to treat those under our authority.
I remember watching re-runs of the old “Lone Ranger” television show when I was little – even in the mid-70’s they were still re-runs.
There’s a joke about the Lone Ranger and Tonto: when they finally come to what appears to be the end of the line – a situation they can’t escape – surrounded by a horde of hostile Indian warriors. The Lone Ranger asks Tonto “what do we do, now?,” to which Tonto replies, “who do you mean ‘we,’ Kemosabe?”
How many times did the Lone Ranger have to get Tonto out of trouble – and how many times did Tonto have to return the favor? Tonto often referred to the Lone Ranger as ‘Kemosabe’ – which has been most often translated as ‘faithful friend.’ Who was actually serving who?
How are we supposed to serve those under our authority? A raise? A new title? Lunch on Friday? A personal card? A pat on the back?
Often how we respond to those under our authority is based on how we’ve been treated by those in authority over us. Did you serve because you were supposed to – because that’s what you were paid to do? Do you only perform the minimum task – or do you go above and beyond what’s required?
Why do we need to serve those under our authority? Because that’s how Jesus treated us and served us.
In Ephesians 6, Paul suggests that we “serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does.” We’re not supposed to work to please men, but God.
Likewise, we need to serve those under our authority – since ultimately they are not working for us – but for God.
Their well-being is tied to the overall success of the organization – and therefore, your well-being. It’s possible with those under our authority – that their broken spirit may be a reflection of us as leaders and our broken spirit.
Who is ‘we,’ Kemosabe? Who is serving who? When we intentionally blur the lines, the more we may be imitating Christ.