Abraham Lincoln – A Servant of the People

Abraham Lincoln exemplified the heart of a servant throughout his life. Lincoln did not aspire to leadership positions but was elected by his peers because of his servant nature. He maintained his role as servant throughout the various positions to which he would be elected. As president of the United States, Lincoln often concluded his letter with the phrases, “Your friend and servant,” “Your obedient servant,” and “Your humble servant,” and in the White House, he never alluded to himself as “president” and he asked others to call him “Lincoln” instead of “Mr. President.”

As a servant to the people, Lincoln sought the guidance and support from the Almighty God. During the Civil War, a clergyman said to Lincoln, “I hope the Lord is on our side.” Lincoln replied, “I am not at all concerned about that for I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that this nation should be on the Lord’s side.” Lincoln worked diligently to do that which was right without concern for power, position, and popularity.

There were many that advised Lincoln against signing the Emancipation Proclamation. As he was about to sign the document, Lincoln was asked, “Are you certain this is the right course of action?” Lincoln replied, “I never, in my life have felt more certain that I was doing right, than I do in signing this paper.”

Booker T. Washington was born into slavery and recalled the day of emancipation that came when he was a boy. He wrote, “As the great day drew nearer, there was more singing in the slave quarters than usual. It was bolder, had more ring, and lasted later into the night. Most of the verses of the plantation songs had some reference to freedom. . . After the reading [of the Emancipation Proclamation] we were told that we were all free, and could go when and where we pleased. My mother, who was standing by my side, leaned over and kissed her children, while tears of joy ran down her cheeks. She explained to us what it all meant, that this was the day for which she had been so long praying, but fearing that she would never live to see. For some minutes there was great rejoicing and thanksgiving.”

Lincoln is today honored as one of the United States’ greatest presidents, even though he had no concern for such praise. Lincoln led the nation as a humble servant. He successfully lead the country through the civil war—preserving the Union while freeing four million people who were in the bondage of slavery.

Lincoln efforts to serve the Nation and free the captives would cost him his life. At the age of 56, Lincoln was assassinated. The Bible declares, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13, KJV) The following is one of the many tributes written after his death:

“To the memory of Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America, who died a martyr to his country, falling under the hand of a traitor assassin on the night of the 14th day of April 1865. The fourth anniversary of the beginning of the great War of Rebellion, through which he led the nation to a glorious triumph. . . The Great Republic loved him as its Father, and reverenced him as the preserver of its national life. The oppressed people of all lands looked up to him as the anointed of liberty, and hailed in him the consecrated leader of her cause. He struck the chains of slavery from four millions . . . with a noble faith in humanity. . . By his wisdom, his prudence, his calm temper, his steadfast patience, his lofty courage, and his loftier faith, he saved the Republic from dissolution. By his simple integrity, he illustrated the neglected principles of its Constitution, and restored them to their just ascendancy. By all the results of his administration of its government, he inaugurated a New Era in the history of mankind. The wisdom of his statesmanship was excelled only by its virtuousness. Exercising a power which surpassed that of kings, he bore himself always as the servant of the people, and never its master.”

                       

Posted by Cameron C. Taylor