In my daily Bible reading (using the Word for Today schedule), I was looking at Matthew 20 this morning. Beginning in verse 20, James and John’s mother goes to Jesus with a request for her sons. They want positions of power in Jesus’ kingdom. Jesus tells the sons and the mother that they have no idea what they are asking, but that they will, in fact, share in His “cup” of suffering. When the rest of the disciples hear about this request, they are angry … because they want those same positions of power. That’s when Jesus makes a statement that we all need to take to heart.
Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
My question today (of myself and you) is, “Where is your heart?” What I mean is that we all have places and situation where we have power and authority. How do we handle those opportunities? The temptation to “lord it over” others and exercise authority for our own benefit is powerful.
But I love the words of Jesus, “It shall not be so among you.” We are of a different spirit and mentality through Christ. Our first instinct should be to serve those around us (like Jesus), rather than desiring to be served. That takes some practice. But it helps to remember, Ephesians 2:10. We have been re-created in Christ as a divine masterpiece! In fact, God has planned our re-created life around good works that serve others and model the grace and love of Jesus.
So, let’s take up Jesus’ challenge. Let’s seek real greatness through service and servant-hearted leadership. Let’s show the world that we follow the King through our loving kindness to others.