42 Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. 43 “But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; 44 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. 45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
The Kingdom of God is the inverse of this world. This principle of who is first and last in the Kingdom is very important for us to understand. If we can fully grasp the concept, it will change the way we think and help us with our selfishness. Jesus repeats this principle a few times throughout the scriptures and makes sure to get his point across. It is an essential concept for Kingdom living.
We have all at sometime or still do involve ourselves in what we call the “rat race”. We continually look for advancement and usually to have authority and power. Sometimes we just want more pay or what seems to be a better job. But, our inner selfishness drives us to become more than our peers. We have this drive to be better and more powerful than those around us. The humility that Jesus exemplified for us must be lived out through us. The Apostle Paul expounds on this notion in Philippians 2:
3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Of anyone who has lived on this earth, Jesus had the right to “lord it” over others but instead of using his position as a way to control others, he used it to love and serve others. This is what a Kingdom leader is called to do. We have distorted this through our very own church leadership by using positions of serving the people (ie pastors, elders, deacons) and made them like worldly leadership positions that lord it over the congregation. Christian leadership is about getting down and dirty to serve those around you, not telling others to serve you. Even if you don’t demand people to serve you, it is just as bad when we expect it to happen. Mankind is stained with the ideals of superiority. When we recognize, however, that we have no superiority unless God gives it to us, we start to realize that we are only here to serve Him by serving others. If we would only humble ourselves under His superiority, we would begin to learn how to serve from the position He has put us in.