Read: Mark 10:1-52
Mark 10:43 Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant.
Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.
James and John approach Jesus and ask for the two key positions in Jesus’ Kingdom. They thought Jesus was going down to Jerusalem this time to kick the Romans out and establish an earthly and political kingdom – so positioning themselves at the head of the pack made sense.
The other disciples were mad about this request, probably because they didn’t think to ask Jesus first. But Jesus turns this argument into a teachable moment for all of us.
Jesus’ basic message here is that the leaders of this world seek their positions for power and exploit that power for their own comfort and enjoyment. But in His Kingdom it is the opposite. Those who seek to lead need to do so out of a desire to serve others, not to use the positions for self-serving purposes, but to lift other people up.
Jesus’ kingdom was going to be different and his leaders were going to be servants, humbling themselves and exalting those around them.
If you’ve ever read Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, he lays out his strategy as a leader. If I were to summarize the book it would be… elevate the people around you. Serve them, toot their horn, encourage them, resource them, set them up to win. I know it’s not the Bible, but it’s really practical servant leadership, and when we live that way, it’s stunningly beautiful and the world takes notice. It stands in such contrast to the way the leaders of this world lead, and it’s my observation that these types of leaders go further, faster, and with great and loyal teammates around them.
So how are you doing at being a servant leader? Doesn’t matter if you are a business owner, a stay at home mom, an auto mechanic, or a student. We all have people around us, and as we serve them we gain influence to speak, direct, and lead.
Jesus – I choose this day to be a servant. Help me to humble myself, to get my eyes up and outward to see the opportunities you have given me to serve the people around me. Protect my heart from the lust for power, and help me to wield what power you have given me for the sake of others. In Jesus’ name, amen.