THOUGHTS ON THE LORD’S DAY
“Servants who rule and rulers who serve.”
In the Gospel of Mark, young Mark seemed fascinated with Jesus as man, the carpenter and Jesus as the Son of God. In Jesus, he saw the ability to rule without losing his willingness to serve.
Jesus had authority as a servant and humility as a ruler. These qualities must mark every Christian who wants to extend God’s Kingdom on a daily basis. The argument the disciples had in Mark 9:38 would have been quickly resolved with the understanding of that truth.
In Mark 9:42-43, Jesus talks about this issue of ruling and serving. He said, “You know the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it should not be so among you. But, whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.”
Jesus sees the cross waiting for Him. James and John see thrones waiting for them. The other ten disciples are angry because James and John got to Jesus first. What’s the cause of your frustration, ruling or serving? What do you see in your future, more power and position, or more opportunities to influence through serving? In your answer lies the cause of your frustration, or the reason for your inner peace.
It’s the same in today’s church. Too many believers are overly concerned about who is going to control by title and position, rather than whose going to influence the Body through serving with humility. In God’s Kingdom, there should be no striving and struggling for power, position and places of honor. When, it’s time to move the piano mature Christians don’t grab for the bench!
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul beautifully provides the answer. Because we all have been given a call by Christ Himself and empowered individually by the Holy Spirit, we are not in competition with anyone. How do you demote a willing servant, or elevate a humble leader? Let’s stop with the self-promotion and look for the serving line.
In the First Century Church, there was no organizational hierarchy, no chain of command and no V.I.P. seats. Matthew 23:8 says, “You only have one master, you are all brothers.” 2 Corinthians 1:24 says, “Not that we lord it over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy; for by faith you stand.”
Leadership in any capacity, in any venue, is not telling people what to do. Servant-leadership is inspiring people to do what you have taught, trained and empowered them to do, only the Lord commands. The greater your gifting and the higher your position simply means the greater the responsibility and opportunity to serve with authority and rule with humility.
Is there structure and lines of authority in the Church? Absolutely! However, we must not look to the world for our models and examples. When the disciples were arguing over who was going to have the places of honor, Jesus the King of all Kings said, “It should not be so among you.” It should not be how many armor-bearers do I have, but how many warriors can I empower.
All the great leaders I’ve ever known not only set the pace with the thoroughbreds, they made sure no one was left out or left behind. They not only occupied the front office, they served the man who swept the floors.
The tools of mature Christians and great leaders are not titles and position on the flow chart, but the towel and the basin in their hand. If you want to truly reflect Christ, stoop to serve before you stand to lead. If you do, you will find a lot more people following, not your title and position, but your heart to serve.