11 The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
I will be brief today. My question is this: “why isn’t anyone cutting in line to serve”? As I read blogs and books their seem to be a bigger emphasis on authority versus servanthood. Why do we constantly have to remind people “who’s in charge”? Why do we have a desire to be in charge? To Lead? To be served? On the one side we see pastor’s needing armor bearers! These armor bearers are to be “apprentices” as someone once told me. These man carry bibles, chauffeur around pastors, pick up their dry cleaning all in the name of being an apprentice!
On the other side there has been a huge push lately for people to “submit” to their leaders. To sumbit to those who have “authority” over you. I think this is a response to the fact that many Christians are tired of the oke doke! Many Christians are beginning to question the establishment and there is much at stake. The church as we know it is starting to split here in the west. With men like Bell, Doug P, McKnight and McManus gaining popularity among young evangelicals and with books like the Shack, Velvet Elvis, Blue Like Jazz and Pagan Christianity becoming bestsellers we have a serious problem. Not to mention some great brothers like Dave Black who have Anabaptist leanings, leaders today are scrapping to save the machine called “church”.
The problem is I think most people feel like the authority that is practiced so well in our churches may have more pagan influence than biblical New Covenant influence. I am sort of in the middle with no real commitments to either side but what I will say, it seems like the Viola’s and others are winning the fight “biblically”. That may be a radical statement. But we can’t ignore the words of Jesus nor the Apostles. It seems that the leaders are the mature among brothers and that authority comes from those willing to follow those they ”have selected” and not the position itself.
But not only that. I rarely see those who lead having the heart to serve. It seems that the reversal of what Jesus spoke in Matthew 23 is what is law in our churches today. When men want to be addressed by their positions my immediate response is one of grave concern. You see my leadership should be lived not demanded. What I mean is this. Jesus never once told the disciples to submit to Him! He only served them and others and they became more convinced that what they left behind was worth following their master. Many today are skeptical and rightfully so. When we have hear sermon after sermon about submitting to leaders, that means something is wrong. I don’t have to tell my wife to submit. If her heart is aligned with God’s and I am serving her as Christ served the church (change love with serve Ephesians 5) then her submission would be that of a bond-servant.
I believe our seminaries, churches and leaders should scream this from the rooftop. The Christian life is one of service and if people refuse to submit serve them more. When the people refused to acknowledge Jesus as the messiah, He didn’t stomp down His feet and demand obedience. He went to the cross. And because of His service to us we love Him (at least I hope that is why you are a Christian). God doesn’t wave the stick before us. He nails His Son to a cross!
I believe that is why our churches are saturated with those hungry for leadership. Man run to seminary in order to be in charge (this is where they get their authority), Man in less educated church run to the pulpit (this will give them their authority), Man in some of the churches in the WOF movement throw on ridiculous titles such as prophet, master prophet, bishop, apostle, Second Vice President to Jesus, and Assistant to God (well the last two haven’t happened yet). You see no one is fighting and arguing to wash feet, to give of themselves, to surrender to the next. Everyone is fighting to be served versus serve.
But Jesus says this “the greatest among you will be a _________________” fill in the blank and that is how you want to live your Christian life!