I was listening to a podcast the other day, the topic of which was, “Leadership.”I almost skipped it to move on to the next topic, because I am not a leader, either in the world or in the church. But I’m glad I listened, because his interpretation on what “Leadership” is was very interesting.
He quoted scripture and then concluded that leadership is “serving.” He said those in leadership of the church are to be servants to the believers.
Luke 22:25-27: And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ “But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. “For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.”
So, how was Jesus a, “servant among us?”
When anyone asked Jesus to heal them, he healed them. When people were hungry, he fed them. He walked from town to town teaching the truth to crowds of people. He prayed for us. He turned no one away. He bore the cross, despising the shame of it. He washed our feet.
Matt. 20:27-28: “And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave– “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Mark 10:44-45 “And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Jesus said these things about desiring to be first because quite often the disciples argued about this. They thought Jesus was going to establish an earthly kingdom; they wanted in on the power of that kingdom. They all desired to be first. James and John’s mother even petitioned Jesus to put her sons at his right and left hand in the new kingdom. Jesus said, “You don’t know what you are asking for.”
Desires can trip us up. Desires can make us discontented. Desires can lead to sin. My sister and I once studied the word, “lust” and how it is used in the Bible. It simply means wrong desires.
Jesus is saying the desire to be first is wrong. It is wrong because it means others are below you and then, at the tail end, there is the person who is last. Like the guy/gal who was chosen last for the baseball team; that kind of “last.”
In God’s eyes, those who are looked down on, those who struggle through life, those who go quietly through life being a servant to others, will be first in the kingdom of God.
But what did Jesus mean when he told the story of the farmer who hired works for his vineyard? He kept hiring men all day and then paid them all the same wage at the end of the day. The workers who worked longer were angry. They thought they should be paid more. Jesus said they weren’t going to get more. The last shall be first and the first last again. But they were given the same amount of money. Eternal life will be given to all who believe in God. So those who will be in heaven will be equal in living forever.
I think Jesus is warning Christians, “Don’t think so much of yourself and your work for God. Don’t think you are better than regular Christians who work at gas stations, stores or are full-time moms. I think Jesus is saying God looks at the ordinary person as someone equal to Billy Graham or Elijah.
I guess being humble is the gist of it all. It would be hard to stay humble if you are a pastor of a church and everyone is praising you about your sermons. It would be hard to be humble if you run a successful business. It must be hard for popular singers to be humble. Actually, it is hard for anyone to be humble! All of us have the temptation to look down on certain other people. But if we can look at ourselves as slaves or servants to these people, then this would help us to be humble.