Jesus provides us with an example in this section that we all need to learn from. It is especially important for those who have a desire to minister to His people, for it talks of the attitude of those who are leaders in the church and how they should see themselves.
The Servant Leader
We often hear references made to the concept of the servant leader. In this section of scripture Jesus shows us just exactly what that concept really means, and more. He teaches his disciples about the attitude they need to take as they do the work of ministry in the church and he shows them in his own example.
The principle of the servant leader is this. To lead the people you need to serve the people and by so doing show them the way forward.
Jesus did this in his example. He turned no one away, not even children. He did not lord it over anyone as though he were greater than anyone else, even though He was the Son of God and is the King of Kings and Lord of lords. Instead, when He came to the earth in human form he reduced himself to the position of a servant as it says in Philippians 2:6-8. “For though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death.”
The Way of the World
In this section of Luke 22 Jesus shows us how the world thinks and behaves. He says, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors.” (Verse 25)
Today this same situation applies even more so. Those who are in power, whether through election in government or promotion in business, are the same as these people described by Jesus. They lord it over the people and they seek to be served as masters. In business the boss is the one who makes the rules and says what will happen and what is important to the business.
The way these people achieve this standing is by power and with it often comes pride and arrogance. Not always I should add, but that is often the path to power. It is not uncommon for people to believe it is necessary to be ruthless and brutal to take the reins of power and to rule. And in seeking the top jobs and political power, those who aspire to such things will do whatever is necessary to eliminate competitors so they can come out on top.
Then Jesus says to his disciples, “But not so with you; rather let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.” (Verse 26) Jesus tells the disciples that the ways of the world are not the ways of his people. The process of leadership is not by pride, arrogance and competition.
Instead Jesus gives us an example in how we are to lead his people. In His example He provides us with the path we need to follow. He said “For which is the greater, one who sits at table, or one who serves? Is it not the one who sits at table? But I am among you as one who serves.” (Verse 27)
Here he shows us that he came to serve and not to be served. His leadership is based upon service and humility. His leadership helped to build people up not tear them down. His aim was for the people to grow in the knowledge of God and to learn the ways of the truth. His desire was for everyone to know everything they needed to be transformed into the image of Christ, if they were prepared to look for these things. He did not keep secrets from the people and he used his power to build up the people.
Serving Gods People
Jesus’ example was given for us too. Those who aspire to ministry need to understand that to rise in the ministry of the Lord means to become a servant, not a master. Jesus is the master, we are his servants. The brethren who the Lord sees fit to put into our care are to be built up. We in ministry are to shepherd and protect, to teach them so they become mature and to lead them through humility into the ways of the Lord.
It is the work of the Holy Spirit to counsel, guide, transform and provide understanding to each person. But as ministers of the Lord it is our responsibility to teach them the truth so that they can understand what is required and how to find the pathway to life.
One of the greatest disasters in the church today is when ministers rise up as masters over the flock and they use and abuse them spiritually. When they get drunk on power and believe it is about them rather than about Jesus, then they are no different to the world, and in fact worse than the world for they should know better.
The Lord’s servant must be humble and rightly use the word of truth to teach and help God’s people mature. Paul summed it up best when he wrote to Timothy saying, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
We too need to heed Paul’s words to Timothy. Do you want to serve God & Jesus Christ in ministry? Then prepare yourself to be a servant and not a master. Prepare yourself with humility and ensure that you hold fast to the truth so that you can guide others into the ways of God for that is the lot of those who minister in the name of Jesus. And it is a blessing to do so for nothing is more exhilarating then seeing the Lord do his work and bring about the salvation and maturity of His people.
(Photo sourced from stock.xchng taken by Elly Kellner)