Servant Leadership: Unpacking Matthew 20:26

Real Estate Agent with Fathom Realty West Sound WA State 52404

Fathom Realty Culture


As we analyze the reasons that agents & brokers give for determining which real estate company to align with, statistics clearly support the importance of company culture as one of the primary factors.

While we understand the value & importance of culture, we sometimes struggle in adequately defining and articulating exactly what that culture is.

At Fathom Realty, Founder & CEO Josh Harley, made the decision early on to use a verse from the Bible, specifically the Gospel of Matthew chapter 20 and verse 26, to establish the foundational cornerstone of Servant Leadership for the company's culture:

"Whoever would be great among you must be your servant."

In order for us to fully grasp the meaning & principles contained in this verse, it would be helpful for us to understand the greater context of this passage.

It really begins back in verse 17 where Jesus takes His disciples aside for a teaching moment, and foretells of His pending death:

"See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day."

Our understanding of Servant Leadership begins with Jesus predicting his own horrific death on a Roman cross, offering us the ultimate example of servant-hood by the act of sacrificing his very life for others.

The narrative is interrupted by a request from the mother of James and John, who does what most Moms do, by advocating for the best interests of her kids.

"Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom"

The mother of the Sons of Zebedee obviously wanted to ensure that her boys had positions of importance, prestige, and power when Jesus ushered in His kingdom. What mother doesn't want the best for her children?

Jesus responded, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?"

Interestingly, James and John, along with their advocating Mom, answer in concert, "We are able!"

This prospect of having a place of honor and pre-eminence was an attractive proposition to the two brothers and earned their hearty approval! However, the idea didn't sit so well with the other disciples, who became incensed and indignant as a result.

Jesus then goes on to explain and contrast the difference of Kingdom Culture versus a Worldly Culture:

"You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave."

The desire for leadership is an admirable pursuit, as long as one has the proper motives and focus. Unfortunately for James and John, their selfish focus was on themselves, what was in it for them, how they would benefit. As with the leaders and 'great' ones of that day, they were consumed with the allure of being in a position of power and authority over others.

Jesus tells us that true leadership is achieved by selflessly focusing on serving the needs of others. If one truly desires to be 'great' in God's economy, the primary calling is one of servant-hood, or quite literally, becoming a 'slave' to others. The Greek word for slave is diakonos which conveys the idea of an eager, pro-active anticipation and fulfilling of the needs of others.

At Fathom Realty, one of the primary core tenets of our culture is Servant Leadership, a collective commitment where we focus our attentions and energies on effectively serving the needs of others - our clients, our communities, and our fellow agents & brokers.

This section of Scripture concludes with Jesus' words, "Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to give his life as a ransom for many."


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Rich Jacobson is a District Director for Fathom Realty and a licensed REALTOR®; an avid Crab Hunter, Clam Digger, and Oyster Shucker, He is the Social Media Evangelist for Life on the Kitsap Peninsula & The Western Puget Sound in scenic WA State.


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Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Rich it has been a while since you have been on this platform, nice to see you back... in all fairness culture is one of the pieces of the puzzle and the others are the Manager how good he is and let's not forget the commission split, Endre

Oct 10, 2017 10:31 PM #1
Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Endre Barath, Jr. - thanks for your thoughtful comment. While typically the first, and most common question asked when interviewing companies is commission split, statistics clearly reveal that culture has become a more critical element for evaluation. Every brokerage has a culture, whether clearly defined and promoted, or not. People are attracted to a culture that resonates with their own values and convictions.

Oct 10, 2017 10:39 PM #2
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I hear bpeople asking or help or other things but are not willing to do what little God asks us to do

Oct 11, 2017 02:54 AM #3
Bruce Brockmeier
Internet Marketing Consultant to REALTORS® - Yorba Linda, CA
Coached By Crouch

Excellent post!!

Apr 28, 2018 11:11 AM #4
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Love this post, Rich and it is so powerfully true. When we freely share our knowledge and willingness to give & lead without expecting reciprocation, the world is our oyster...or crab in your case!! 

Apr 29, 2018 12:40 PM #5
Linda Clark, REALTOR®, GRI
Fathom Realty, LLC - McKinney, TX
Real Estate Agent serving Dallas & Beyond!

Wonderful to read this post, Rich.  I joined Fathom after earning my license 3 years ago.  Yes, I'll admit, keeping most of my commission was a draw.  But, the huge catalyst was the servant leadership culture that aligned with my own philosohy of serving others as defined by the greatest servant of all!

May 04, 2018 07:04 AM #6
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