But Jesus called them to Himself and said, You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 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 (Matthew 20:25-28).
There’s a lot out there these days about leadership. Seminars and self-help books abound. While much of the information is helpful, we must keep ourselves in check as believers. We live in a different kingdom. Jesus said my kingdom is not of this world. Our standards are different that that of the world’s. And our attitudes and motives are different.
We’re not called to acquire a big name for ourselves; we’re called to glorify Jesus in all we do. We’re not building our little kingdoms; we’re building the kingdom of God. We’re called to be servants. If we’re leading others, we’re called to be servant leaders. The greatest leaders among us must become the greatest servant of all. The more we lead, the more we serve.
Jesus washed the feet of the disciples in John 13. This was the job of the lowest servant in the house. It was a menial task to be sure. And Jesus didn’t stop until He had washed all of the disciple’s feet! He left us such a wonderful example. We need to be very careful in this day of big ministries, lots of money, and lots of helpers. We must never lose the perspective of servanthood in our lives, regardless of our position in ministry.
We should carry ourselves in such a way that attention is not brought to us, but to Jesus. In reading of the life of Smith Wigglesworth, he became troubled just before his death that people were bragging on him and his accomplishments too much, and he lamented that people were not deflecting the praise to Jesus. Poor Wigglesworth, he said. God must remove me from the scene soon. He longed for people to grasp the concepts of humility and servanthood.
I’ll leave you today with Paul’s comments that we should emulate:
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God — and righteousness and sanctification and redemption — that, as it is written, He who glories, let him glory in the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).