But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. ~Luke 22:26
In tennis, two players are trying to outplay the other through the vigorous exchange of hits. The goal is to hit the tennis ball so that the opponent cannot return it. The start of a game is when the player with the ball serves it to his opponent. He will be told, “It’s your serve.” That’s what we are meditating on this morning; what does it mean to serve?
We see the fractious contentions.
“And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.” The Lord had just led the disciples in taking of the Passover. Jesus used this solemn memorial to point to the fact that He was the “Passover Lamb” Who was about to lay down His life for the sins of the world. The disciples began bickering over who the greatest was among them. At a very critical moment when these men should have been thinking about Jesus, they were thinking about which of them was the greatest. Envies and jealousies among them arose. Their thinking was, “Who will be the leader?” and, “Who has control?” It is so sad when members of a body of believers are at strife with one another, and contend for positions and power.
We see the familiar comparison.
“And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.” In the world, rulers, presidents, and leaders have “lordship” over people. Jesus referred to their leadership as benefactors, or those who demand honor from those who are under them. In the world, the goal in leadership is about how many people are in the service of the leader. The disciples were thinking of leadership from a worldly perspective. They had forgotten that, just moments before, Jesus took a towel and basin and washed their feet. They had forgotten that He said, “Happy are ye if ye do these things.” We must always be careful of erroneously using a worldly model as our basis of comparison with spiritual responsibilities and commands.
We see the forthright correction.
“But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.” Jesus makes a powerful declaration of what real leadership is. Real leadership is not about how many people are serving me, but rather how many people I am serving. True leadership is servant leadership. It is finding ways to serve and build up others. It is finding ways to involve others to grow them. It is taking interest in the welfare and outcome of others. If you want to be great, you must have a submissive attitude. If you want to be in charge, you must be one that serves. Jesus had to correct the carnal and sinful attitude that was prevailing among the disciples.
We see a fervent compulsion.
“For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.” Jesus said to these men filled with petty jealousies and envy, “Look at yourselves!” Then, He further convicts their hearts by saying, “Look at Me! I am among you as He that serveth.” As their Lord, He was serving them! No one earns the right to lead until he is submissively serving. Jesus, by his example, compels us to be servants to others.
It’s your serve! The opportunity to serve is always on our side. Power wrangling is carnal. Serving others is the high road and doing the will of God from the heart (Eph. 6:6). Serve!
Have a servant’s God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Proverbs 13-15