One time, Jesus’ disciples were talking. Arguing is more like it. They were all jockeying for position, concerned for their status. They wanted to make sure they had a good position, that people knew they were important, that they were seen. And they argued among themselves about it.
Jesus heard this, and his response was challenging.
He said, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with 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.” (Luke 22:25b-27 ESV, emphasis mine)
As the leader of the group, Jesus above all of them could have claimed His right as the one who was to be served. As the King of Kings, even more so! But instead, he set a different example, and He made it clear that leadership among his followers was not to be like what they saw around them in the world. Not so with you.
A desire for status is nothing new – it was true of the disciples around Jesus, and it’s often true in our day too. But it’s not ok. Jesus made that clear – not so with you.
We are to be like our master, like our rabbi Jesus. He was “as the one who serves,” and so should we be. May leaders in the church never desire status among others so much that we forget that we are servants – we serve, just like our Lord taught us.
In the church, the word “deacon” comes from the Greek word diakonos, which means servant. At Southview, we have dozens and dozens of examples of diakonos – people who serve in Adventure Zone, who rock babies, who lead kids small groups and adult small groups, who serve on Faith in Action projects in our community and around the world, who serve on our worship and production teams, who serve on our First Impressions team to help greet our guests and members on Sundays – I could go on and on. Their desire is not for status, but simple to do what Jesus said – to serve others. To follow His teaching of “not so with you.”
Today, let’s remember those four words that Jesus spoke to the disciples, and let’s make sure that our lives reflect that teaching. That’s being a real leader.