A dispute also arose among them, talking about the disciples, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so as you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest and the leader, 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.
Jesus redefining greatness and leadership, not according to sitting back and being served, but stepping forward and serving. This is what a true leader does. He or she serves, not exercises lordship over those whom they lead, asserts authority over them in unhealthy ways.
Lord, conform our understanding of greatness to the teaching of Christ and help us to be selfless servants.
Obviously we know in scripture that authority is good and granted by God to be used for good and all kinds of different ways and different relationships. But Jesus, who is the ultimate authority, the Lord of all is saying, “I am among you as one who serves and you should do the same. The greatest among you is the servant among you.”
So I just want to encourage you to think through today, any position of leadership or influence you have, not even positioned any way in which you lead or have influence in others’ lives. Maybe it’s through some kind of formal position. Maybe it’s not. But to think through today, how can you lead, influence others, by serving today?
Husband, God has put you in a leadership position in your marriage, so what specifically can you do today to serve your wife? How can parents serve our kids, like go out of the way in serving? How can employers, those of you who are in any kind of authority and work, what can you do today to serve those who you lead in work? In the church, what relationships, what influence, what leadership do you have and how can you serve? Just think about relationships in general. What can you do today in a unique way to go out of your way to serve someone else?
Oh, God teach us to lead like this. Teach us to influence like this, we pray. This goes totally against the grain of the way leadership in the world is set up. We pray that you would help us to be counter-cultural, to be Christlike in our leadership, in our influence, make us servants, we pray. We pray for humility. We pray that you would use our lives and our leadership to be a blessing to people around us because we are serving people around us.
God, even in my own life, I just pray today as I think about specific ways I can do this. Lord, help me to be selfless in my life and leadership; to be a servant. God, I pray this over every single person who’s listening right now, even as we realize in a fresh way, that Jesus, you are our Lord and our leader and you are our servant. That you help us, which is why we pray. We pray to you because you are a servant to us. You promise to give us what we need.
We praise you as our King, our Lord and our servant who loves us and provides for us all glory be to your name and we pray that you’d help us to follow your lead.
In your name, in Jesus’ name, we pray these things according to your Word. Amen.