But Jesus called them to him and said, “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 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matt 20:25-28
What Jesus said above came on the heels of James’ and John’s (Zebedee) mother vying for an honored position in Jesus’ Kingdom. While answering James and John, Jesus took the opportunity to remind the Disciples that leadership and authority starts with servanthood…
I think I would be embarrassed to come before the King of Glory and have my mother plead for a “position” for her tender sons in the coming Kingdom-not only a “position” but on the immediate either side of Jesus as he sat on the throne.
“Mom, mom-don’t do this.” “Nonsense. If you two won’t stick up for yourselves I will stick up for you. You never get anywhere in this world if you don’t go after it…besides I always knew you were destined for greatness. This will show all the neighbors that your investment in this movement wasn’t for vain.”
And so, under the leadership of their mother, James and John fell right in line…and got smacked (figuratively speaking).
Leadership and servanthood: Hard to reconcile. “I lead by serving; I serve by leading.” Doesn’t come naturally for me. Take for instance being a husband:
I lead by serving my wife. Ok, I confess it is hard to wrap my mind around this principle in my marriage. There are times where I think “this is getting me nowhere; I am being taken advantage of…” Then I realize that isn’t what Jesus is meaning for me. Paul writes that husbands are to love their wives like Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her (Eph 5). So then, learning how to become servants like my Lord is just like His objective for me: being conformed the image of the Son (Ro 8:29). As I lay down my life (wants, desires, objectives, plans, etc.) unto Him for what He wants me to be for my wife, as He says: “…all these (other) things will be added to you…” The point is not what I gain but what I do in worship to Him. Note that I stop here, none of that nonsense about “if I do this now, I get what I want later.” That particular trail of thought is stinking thinking.
Living to serve is a mindset based upon wanting to serve my Lord and be obedient to the Scriptures. If I love Him, then I obey His word-easy as that.
Yeah, right. I need the Holy Spirit every day. No doubt about it. I remind myself that living in Christ is a journey; I must have the long view about things. Every race is run one step at a time.
Lord God, help me to run this particular race with endurance. I get icky with my wife when my expectations run at cross-purposes and I recognize that servanthood is far over the horizon from me. It’s a good thing that results aren’t a measure of Your grace towards me, but granting me the ability to repent is. AMEN.