A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest? And He said to them: “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them and those in authority over them are called “benefactors.” But not so with you. Rather let the greatest among you become as the youngest and the leaders as one who serves. For who is the greater: one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table?
But I am among you as the one who serves…” Luke 22:24-27
Leadership. Servanthood. You wouldn’t think something so simple would cause so much controversy. It did for the Disciples. It does for us.
It isn’t a lesson that is just learned once; it is the lesson that keeps on having to be learned…
“Me first!” “I want to be at the head of the line!” “I am the Boss!” “Wait a minute: I am the leader here—I will decide.”
Any of that remotely familiar? Is to me. I wrestle with these kinds of thoughts daily—and over a number of situations: Some serious, some not so serious, and some just plain laughable.
The issue is that all of mankind loves to be first. We like to be noticed first, asked first, and considered first. Jesus says this is common place in society: “The Gentiles lord it over you and call themselves “Benefactors.” Ever see the road sign: “This Construction ZONE that is going to take 3 years to complete has been made possible by your County Commissioner’s especially Mr. Number One Chairman.” Remember the Disciples frequently had a civil discussion on who would be the greatest disciple? Did not! They ARGUED about who would be first.
Being a servant is what we are called to do and yet all of our insides can grate trying to do that. “I want to be served!! I’m tired serving. When is it my turn?”
When did we get so self-important? There are numerous examples, stories, and confessions in the Scriptures lamenting the fall of the self-important.
“But what about false humility?” Yep, certainly an issue. Hiding unrighteous ambition in my heart gets me to Matt 7: “Lord, didn’t I do this and that in Your Name?” Jesus replies, “Begone: I never knew you.”
Having a servant’s heart in everything we do is having a firm idea on what the sin is in my heart to pay attention to and put to death (mortify). This is a constant workout for me—I know that I want to be in first place. So, in secret and without fanfare I look to serve. I look to deny myself to serve my wife—often without success in a cultivated servant’s heart. But—I confess, repent, and get back on the horse.
So what do I do? 1) Determine in the power of the Holy Spirit and in cooperation with Him to cultivate a servant’s heart. Key: Think of others as more important than yourself. 2) Don’t think that we have “arrived”: Falling off the horse is a normal occupation of a Believer. Readily confess sin; repent with determination; joyfully jump back on and keep going.
Lord God: I vaguely remember when I heard this scripture in teaching about being a servant. Simply, Lord: Let it not be so with me. I want to follow your example. Whatever role you place me in, whatever job, wherever to live in You—I am determined to be a servant first and foremost until That Day. In whatever accolade you gift me with, help me to remember to give You thanks first and that You provided the recognition. Help my heart be a servant’s heart first all the days of my life. AMEN