Friday, February 12, 2010

I'm In Charge - No, I am in Charge!

Who Is The Greatest?

In my morning devotions today I came to a very intriguing and yet disturbing passage in Luke. Luke 22:24 reads:

“A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest.”

At a monumental and pivotal period of time the disciples are contending or strongly debating over who will take over when Jesus is gone. This word translated dispute or as in the A.V. strife, is used but one time in the New Testament. However, I think we can get the idea from this word that this was no small disagreement.

I do not know how they are feeling or what they are thinking about at this particular Passover that they are eating with Jesus. I do not want to be unfair to them, yet I feel very disturbed that they are already thinking of prominence, position, and even power.

Jesus is in essence telling them that He is going to be betrayed, put to death, and will leave them to carry on His mission. He has tried to instill and reinforce this message this entire week. This is a moment of sadness and concern, not a moment for self-promotion.

Jesus response, however, is classic. He does not truly scold them nor rebuke them. He compares them to kings of the Gentiles and others who are in positions of authority. He conveys the message that the disciples are not like and nor are they to be like these others. As a matter of fact Jesus encourages them to become like the youngest in a group and become like servants.

In other words, if you want to be considered great and you want to be a leader, become a servant. Jesus is instilling several principles at this point, and the most important principle is that leaders in His kingdom do not dispute and contend their way into prominence; they serve their way to greatness.

This is no secret to us today. We have several passages describing servant-leadership from Paul, Peter, and Jesus. (II Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:5; I Peter 5:1-5)

The unfortunate truth seems to be that most leaders, secular or spiritual fail to heed those passages. How despicable and deceitful are our hearts. We “over-look” these passages because we, like the Pharisees, love “robes or clothing” of distinction, titles, honored seats, and lavish greetings in the market place. O, that God would deliver us from ourselves. As I meditated on this passage I came to see at least five (5) principles for our application today. Please allow me to share them with you:

1. Greatness is determined not by position or prominence but by attitude (humility) and action (service.)

2. Position, power, and prominence is not the goal for true believers but the recognition of faithfulness and effectiveness by the power of God

3. True, Spiritual, and Christ-like leadership is conveyed through the service and ministry to others

4. Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of servant-leadership which needs to be studied, emulated, and meditated upon.

5. Just as “membership has its rewards,” servant-leadership will have its rewards in the future life with Jesus Christ. There may be few “rewards” today as we serve in hostile, combative, and on foreign territory (earth.) Remember the war is won, we are the victors, and the time of peace continues to draw near.

What say ye?

1 comment:

Mike said...

I marvel at the extreme pride (the sinful kind) of the apostles...but that Jesus still used them. No doubt, He changed them when they saw the truth in his crucifixion.

But the more astonishing part is that when I reflect on my own life I recognize, "I am Peter"....I'm often just as prideful and ugly inside as any of those guys were. God help me...see me thru a drastic change inside!