Jesus really flipped things on their heads when He said these words:
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and the men of high position exercise power over them. It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave; 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 20:24–28)
Being a Christian leader presents a million problems. We’re told by the world how to run things; how to strive for titles and salaries and bonuses; and how to make sure others respect our names, words, and positions. The problem is that, as Christ-followers, we aren’t supposed to make big of ourselves at all! We aren’t supposed to seek acclaim or notice or titles or anything. Rather, we are to elevate Christ and make His name known. Not our own. This is really, really tough to do … especially when the nature of society seeks to put leaders on pedestals.
Mark Driscoll resigned this week. I’m sure most of you are aware of this drama. It has unfolded over the past two years and impacted many people beyond the borders of Mars Hill and the Driscoll empire.
In response, most people have rush to one of two sides. They either want to instantly forgive, forget and move on OR they want to persist in publicly crucifying this man, his methods, his ministry and his family.
I want to propose a third option. Let’s flip things on their heads. Instead of talking about Mark, let’s talk about God. And let’s focus on ourselves and how we can become the leaders we want to follow.
God and God alone deserves to be on a pedestal. We should not ever worship strong leaders or dynamic speakers, no matter how humble and godly they might appear. No one — NO ONE — deserves to be elevated or praised more than God! He is the Creator and Savior of the world and He alone deserves our supreme adoration.
Rather than chasing after people to lead us in following God, how about we follow God ourselves? Let’s look at the words of Jesus again.
“…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant…”
We all want to be great. Whether we admit it or not, we want to do significant things with our lives. We want to stand-out as something special. That’s normal In fact, it’s good! God created each of us to be great. He created each of us with the capacity to do amazing, significant, wonderful things in His power and for His glory. But in order to be truly, authentically great, we need to be humble and we need to serve.
Perhaps rather than chasing after leaders, we need to lead the leaders by example. We need to chase after God and watch them follow.
Great people are never defined by title or position, but by action. It is what we do that matters. What people think we do and what they think of us proves fully irrelevant.
Let us live lives that honor God supremely, in all that we do regardless of where we are who might notice. In doing that, people will notice and they will follow. They’ll be drawn like moths to the glorious Light that they see in us.
I want to share with you a couple really cool stories.
- This lady is 99 years old and sews a dress every single day for needy children. She doesn’t have a following, a book deal or a pulpit, but she is leading. She is leading by example with a beautiful, humble, servant’s heart. What might you be able to do where you are with what you have?
- This article presents multiple stories and a great challenge to give our best. King David refused to offer a sacrifice that cost him nothing and I urge you — me — all of us to possess that same attitude. “When we give our best, we are living our best.” In what ways might you give more?
I also want to share with you a couple books. There are dozens and dozens — probably hundreds! — of books on leadership. I’ve not read these, but both speak about the heart of a leader and how following God is the first step to leading others. Bonus: Both are free today. Grab them while you can.
TALK TO ME: Tell me about someone who inspires you to follow Christ more fully. What are some ways you can pursue Him right where you are with what He has given you?