So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:42-45
But among you it will be different. Don’t you love that? Don’t you love it when God’s way runs observably different than the world’s way? It’s a difference you can see and discern that sets apart true followers of Christ. It gives you a chance to know what to focus on in your own life if you want to follow Christ, and it also gives you a way to discern who you want to model after so that you do not get led astray by false teachers.
For instance, the Christian subculture in this country has had a strong tendency in these last 30 years to be run by male chauvinistic leaders following more of the way of the world in lording it over others than the way Christ talked about here, where leaders put themselves below everyone else and see themselves as everyone’s slave. That’s a huge difference, and something virtually absent among high profile Christian leaders. I can count on one hand the leaders I have observed who model a servant approach to leadership. And they aren’t very popular. It’s what Gregory Boyd has called “power under” versus “power over” leadership.
And it lets us know how the Lord wants us to lead — through serving as we use our spiritual gifts in the body. It’s the way we will be different.
What does it mean to be a servant leader? It starts with how you see yourself. You see yourself as literally a slave. You have relinquished your rights to yourself to raise the quality of someone else’s life. You look to the needs of others before you look to your own. I watch my wife do this all the time and she amazes me. She leads a discipleship group and pours herself out to a few women. For a year and a half she is their servant. She devotes time and a great amount of effort to helping them become mature in Christ. She will be on the phone for hours helping them work through personal problems. She is leading them but she is doing it by serving them. That is the way we lead.
And there is no glory here. No one is a hot shot. Slaves don’t get accolades; they are just doing their job.
It’s the world’s way versus our way. If ever you see leaders in the name of Christ using power, position or wealth to dominate others, know that this is not of God and this person is not to be followed. This is someone following the way of the world.
But among you it will be different. Is it?
To answer this very good question: “Don’t you love it when God’s way runs observably different than the world’s way?” Yes, but to be honest – Not always…
On earth power is often an end in itself and not merely a tool to an end. And yes, I believe that this is one of the most important differences between earthly thinking and heavenly thinking. Also, I believe that the idea to see power as merely a tool is also a tool in itself. A tool to achieve peace. Just imagine that in heaven you can safely trust both those above and below you in rank! No powergames, no intrigues, just everybody simply doing the right thing! Sounds very peaceful to me!