Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles have absolute power and Lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ But it is not to be this way with you; on the contrary, the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader, like the servant. For who is the greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.”
If we want to follow the example of a great and perfect leader, we must look to Jesus Christ. Not being one to simply bark orders and require obedience, He led not by command but by example. Today’s scripture gives us clear insight into an example that He set time and time again. Humankind has always been obsessed with power and authority. A quick review of the histories of the various nations of this world will show that clearly. Those in power exert their authority over others by requiring service. They expect to be waited upon. Jesus, on the other hand, chose to lead from the back of the pack. His instruction and example are to lead others by serving them. If one desires to be Christ-like and have power and authority in the kingdom of God, one must be willing to wait on others.
When we are willing to serve others, we are saying several things. Probably the most important statement we make in our service to others is that they matter first. When my boss or my pastor or my friend puts aside his needs or wants in order to accommodate me, he is saying that I am a priority. He is telling me that he is willing to put me first if only in that moment because he sees value in that. The service of Jesus Christ had and continues to have the goal of building people. When we serve others, we are investing in their lives with the goal of improving them. Being willing to serve others means that we are willing to build others. It is a desire to see others being raised above their current circumstances and situations to a better place. The good servant truly cares about the well-being of those he serves. The servant loves waiting on others because he loves others.
If we want to gauge whether we have the servant’s heart, we only need look to our motivation behind waiting on others. If the desire is to earn favor or accolades, then our service is based on self-centered motives. If the desire is to help others live a little better or a little easier, then our motives are in line with those of Jesus Christ. A true servant after God’s own heart finds joy in building people the way a child finds joy in building houses out of blocks. This should be something that we look forward to with smiles on our faces. This should be something in which we can lose ourselves without concern for the time flying by or for what else we might be missing. If our service is work, it should at least be work with a happy heart. Father, thank You for sending your Son to serve as the perfect example of a servant leader, and build in us this kind of leadership to serve as examples of You.