Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other 
with dignity and honor.
James 3:17–18 MSG

I’ve been struggling with answering the question “How are you?” Often I say, “Busy,” even though I don’t particularly like this response. I wonder how my answer makes the other person feel. Does she feel like I don’t really have time for her? Does she feel sorry for me? Does she wonder if I am brushing her off?

I am in leadership with many women and I often hear them say to me, “I know you are really busy, but ...” as if they are apologizing for taking my precious time. Ugh! The last thing I want anyone to think is that they are a burden or I am “too busy,” especially people I love and feel honored to serve. The same applies in my home. How often have I told my husband or children that I was too busy for something?

Being a servant leader requires time. I can’t think of many situations where Jesus “brushed off” someone asking for help. I asked the Lord for guidance on how to respond to my family, friends, and colleagues when they ask how I am doing.

Often when I start a conversation with God, I feel as if He has been patiently waiting to talk with me. Sometimes it takes months for me to weed through all my excuses for why I run my life the way I do before I am finally ready to listen and receive the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In this case, however, the answer came quickly.

The Lord reminded me of His own words:

“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:26–28 NIV).

Jesus dramatically modeled this kind of leader- ship when He washed His disciples’ feet in the upper room. This act of service took precious time that He could have used to tell His disciples other, more practical things while the Roman soldiers were coming to arrest Him.

The apostle Paul also reminds us that the purpose of servant leadership is to prepare the church for works of service and build up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12). That is the reason God has given you gifts and talents to use as a leader, whether in your family, the church, or the workplace.

So what do I say now when someone asks me how I am doing? “I have a lot going on and I love what I’m doing. How can I serve you?”

Make Your Mark
Do you sometimes seem too busy for others?
If you are too busy to serve, then you are too 
busy to lead. Ask God how you should respond to people when they approach you for advice or help. Treat every encounter as an opportunity to wash someone else’s feet.