Who Is The Greatest

“But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;” (Matthew 20:25–27, NASB95)

The world’s definition of great is vastly different from God’s definition of great. The world defines greatness as one who holds a position of honor above their peers and is deeply respected, demanding the privilege to exercise authority. Other views may not be so extreme, and they define greatness as one who has exceptional talents or abilities. For the most part, people strive to climb the ladder of success in order to be recognized as great and receive the praises of men. This kind attitude fosters a view of elitism, such as, “I paid my dues, and I do not have to do menial tasks. I have people that do that for me! I want people to serve me now that I am in charge.”

Jesus was nearing Jerusalem and coming to an end of His ministry on earth. The disciples were told that they would hold positions of authority in His new kingdom. The mother of James and John, the original “helicopter mom,” stepped in and requested seats of honor for her boys. The other ten disciples were upset, not at the request, but that they were losing a potential position of honor. They were blinded by pride and jealousy, which in turn caused them to miss the message of true greatness demonstrated through the servant leadership of Jesus.

The key to kingdom leadership is influence, not authority. The standards of greatness in the kingdom of God are contrary to the standards set by the world. As Christ-followers, we must reject selfish behavior and discover how to live in God’s kingdom. The way to discover this kind of greatness is through servanthood. The greatest title in the kingdom of God is “Servant of All!” Jesus warned His followers of pride when He said, ““But the greatest among you shall be your servant. “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11–12, NASB95) God will resist the proud and give grace to the humble (James 4:6).

There are many who want to be the boss and exercise authority, but few that actually want to take up a towel and water to wash feet. Next time you feel you should be put in charge or feel that you have been passed over for a leadership position, compare yourself to Jesus and read Philippians

In His Service,
Pastor Cary

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