Self-Sacrificing Prophets

The prophets recorded in the scriptures provide a vivid picture of what living a life of self-sacrifice really looks like. So many of the prophets lived lives they would not have chosen, endured hardships they would have much rather avoided, and were called by God to do things that were considered shameful to the Israelites, but not in violation of God’s Law. The examples are as numerous as the number of prophets themselves: Hosea was called to take an adulterous woman as his wife as a example of Israel’s adultery to false gods (Hosea 1:1-2); Jonah had to face his own prejudices and sacrifice his will to reach a people group for God that he did not consider worthy of God’s forgiveness (Jonah 1:1-3); Ezekiel was commanded by God to lay on his side for a total of 430 days to represent the siege of Babylon of Israel and Judah (Ezekial 4:4-6). These examples of living obedient lives to God in self-sacrifice are a good example of the attitude Christian leaders should have in the service to God and his people.

To be a servant leader is to have a positive impact on the world, which at times will require the leader to willingly share in the pain and difficulties of others (Hejazi, 2011, p. 2). Self-sacrifice can be exhibited in a one-time occurrence, such as the cases of Jonah and Ezekiel, or repeatedly as a continuous behavioral pattern, such as the case of Hosea (Choi and Mai-Dalton, 1998). Whether the act was one-time or continuous, the prophets revealed a consistent attitude toward living a life of self-sacrifice to God as the Supreme King of the world; an attitude every Christian leader today should embrace (Fedler, 2006).


Choi, Y., & Mai-Dalton, R. R. (1998). On the leadership function of self-sacrifice. The Leadership Quarterly, 9(4), 475–501.

Fedler, K. D. (2006). Exploring Christian Ethics: Biblical Foundations for Morality. Louisville, Ky: Westminster John Knox Press.

Hejazi, A. (2011). How Servant Leadership Theory Serves A Biblical Theme. In The Classic Virtues in Organizational Leadership (pp. pp. 1–5). Regent University.

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