Matthew 20:26 “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,”
A man named Lord Action once said, “Power corrupts; Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.” Why do I even bring this up? Well…it is quite simple really. When people suddenly come into a position of power, power is often abused. I don’t think you have to look back into the history books too far to see what I am talking about. People like Stalin, Hitler, Napoleon, and a laundry list of other notable figures come to mind. We see these people attain power in a variety of ways and abuse the power of their role for selfish reason or ideologies and they are remembered as cautionary tales for people taking on new leadership roles on international levels as well as organizational levels.
When people come into positions of authority sometimes the person seizes the role and other times the role seizes the person. In the Bible we find this time and again, especially in the Old Testament. Israel cries out for a change. They look around and see that other kingdoms have and they want that. They want to see if the grass truly is greener on the other side. It is like watching a spoiled child asking for something and the parent finally gives in. God gives Israel what they want and it doesn’t take too long to see how it is going to turn out. King Saul is overcome by the power and makes some pretty terrible decisions. So, God chooses a different king. King David. He seems perfect, right? Not so fast. He commits adultery, and then sends the husband to the front lines to be killed. And this is the man after God’s heart. Even a guy with a heart like that was corrupted by power. This goes to show you that power can corrupt when put into the hands of sinners.
Thanks be to God that He doesn’t end the story there. After the allotted time God sent His Son to earth to give them, and us, the perfect example of what it means to lead. I think it is interesting when Jesus gives us verses like the one in Matthew saying, “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,” You can almost picture the disciples nodding their heads and thinking, “Yup, that sounds right, we need to serve. Good thinking Lord. So what else can you teach us?”
This is where God goes a step further.
I am sure it wouldn’t take long for you to scrape up a memory when you said one thing, then did the other. I remember having a health class, back in high schoo,l where the teacher told us how bad soda pop was and having a poor diet was bad for your health. This he did while he held a forty ounce beverage container up to his mouth while eating a candy bar. I looked at the guy and thought, “Well, he’s not in that bad of shape, how bad can the candy bars and soda pop really be?”
Actions speak louder than words and that is where God takes this a step further. Jesus told the disciples to serve, to lead by serving others. This is vividly illustrated when Jesus is with His disciples on Maundy Thursday. Jesus gets out the water basin and decides to wash the disciples’ feet. He washes them one by one and He finally gets to Peter. And Peter is the one that puts up the argument. His boss wants to serve Him and care for Him. Peter makes the connection and thinks to himself that it really wasn’t God’s place to wash his feet. He insists that Jesus should have a seat while Peter washes God’s feet. Jesus quickly rebukes Peter and shows us again that leaders need to serve. That is their job. To serve. Serve joyfully.
As a leader your job is to serve- and with the heart of a servant.
Maybe you are the leader of a church group, manager at the store, head of your household, captain of an athletic team, etc. Your job is not to boss people around. Yes, you need to educate your peers to create a successful environment. You need to be there when there are questions that arise and you need to make decisions to put out fires along the way. The focus is on serving. Serving your customers, your family, your co-workers. Your role is a leader. Your co-workers’ roles are important too. Without those special people you will not be much good as a leader now will you? Recognize their contributions and see what you can do to help make their job more worthwhile along the way.
Build relationships with those around you and remain focused on the main goal; to keep heaven full and hell empty.