Terry R. Baughman
“Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. And He said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves’” (Luke 22:24-26).
The Kingdom of God is unlike the structure of authority in business. Its values are vastly different than the aspirations of those pursuing political position and power. Its government is driven in a unique way drawing a sharp contrast to any current model of contemporary leadership. In the Kingdom of God the highest value is placed on those who serve.
Virtually every other structure of authority is designed top down. Those with the highest authority are viewed as on top and they give directives to those below. Organizations and governments are led by those who have leveraged power, negotiated deals, compromised contracts, and may have stepped on a few heads to rise above those with lesser determination to succeed. Sometimes it is referred to as a “dog eat dog world” implying that if you don’t take advantage of someone else, they will take advantage of you.
Jesus said it is the way of the “kings of the Gentiles,” to “exercise lordship” over others. Jesus offered a model of leadership that was diametrically opposite to the traditional models observed all around. His structure started at the bottom. The lowest becomes the leader. This philosophy is reflected in the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Jesus introduced the concept of servant leadership. His ministry was the model, “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). The teaching of Jesus exalts the slave to leadership and those who desire to succeed are instructed to serve. Jesus said, “He who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:11–12). The way to go up is to go down. The better you serve the more opportunity you will have to lead.
Sometimes we forget that to minister is to serve. The ministry is only a position of leadership when it is exercised as an opportunity to give. This is the true blessing of ministry, fulfillment comes in the degree that we give of ourselves to others. A call to ministry is a call to servitude. Accept your calling; look for a place of service in God’s great kingdom.
Arise and serve!
“The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build …” (Nehemiah 2:20).