Who Do You Serve?

Who do you serve? It’s a simple question. Yet, if you are candid with yourself, the answer may be upsetting. With demands coming from every direction, Servant Leadership requires that we know who we serve and in what priority those individuals fall. Here are some ways to consider the priorities in your life and who you serve over others:

A Crowd Rushes for ServiceMoney

Stewardship of resources is a critical responsibility of any leader. Who would your bank say you serve? Look at the credit card statement from last month. Did you spend most of your money on your faith, family or work?


There are several billboards near my office that show a father playing with his children. The statement on it is simple: “Take Time to be a Dad Today”. Where do you invest most of your time? I cover more on this in my posts Actions Express Priorities, Tips for Work Life Alignment and Pause to Reflect on What’s Important.


For the religious, who do you pray about and in what priority? Are your prayers consumed with desires for yourself and personal ambitions? Or, instead, do you invest your time praying for others and asking what God’s will is for you?

For example, after looking at where I invest my money, time and prayers, it was clear I serve the following: God, my lovely wife Trina, our two boys, my employers, you (my blog readers), other family members and friends. In addition, somewhat less obvious, I must serve myself.

Once you’ve reflected on where you are investing your money, time and prayers, consider the priorities of these investments. In his eBook Creating Your Personal Life Plan (free for subscribers to his website), Michael Hyatt states he puts himself high on the list. If you’re surprised, don’t be. He explains it well:

I have to attend to myself first (second only to God) in order to be spiritually,emotionally, intellectually, and physically available to others. If you have trouble with the semantics of putting yourself second, think of it as preparation to serve others.

Equipped with your list of who you serve and your priorities, you should be able to be very specific. For example, my list of those I serve is as follows:

1. God
2. Self
3. Trina
4. Children
5. Other Family
6. Employers (and stakeholders)
7. Friends
8. Servant Leadership Community
9. Other Communities (neighbors, social causes, etc.)

Knowing who you serve and in what priority you serve them is critical to being a successful leader. If you’re not certain, I urge you to spend some time thinking about this. Better yet, get Michael’s eBook and work out the priorities and life plan for yourself.

Question: What about you? Does God come first? Where are your family, friends, boss, coworkers and others on your list of people to serve?

About the Author:

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder ModernServantLeader.com - the leading blog on servant leadership and top 35 site for any leadership topic, globally. Ben also speaks and consults on IT and management topics for a large variety of clients. Find out more about him at https://ModernServantLeader.com.


  1. Anonymous October 13, 2011 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    Great points and post. We always should serve God first.

    • Ben Lichtenwalner October 18, 2011 at 10:02 pm - Reply

      Thanks Dan and welcome to MSL. Agreed. Priority of service always begins with God. I appreciate your feedback.

  2. Laurie June 21, 2017 at 12:11 am - Reply

    I was raised that serve God first, family second, friends third, and yourself comes last. I feel giving to others brings joy to others cause you were there. It mostly brings joy to your heart for being there for them. I love making people smile. Love Jesus, love like Jesus!!

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