Mark – The Facts.
A few years ago, when I was in full time, paid ministry leader of a denomination, I got an interesting phone call from a 20 year old. This lovely lady began the conversation with, “I want your job!” I wasn’t sure how to take that blunt statement. While I snickered under my breath, she followed up the statement with a question, “How do I go about getting to where you are now?” She was serious. So I immediately began telling her of my journey. My first thought? You have no idea.
The journey begins, I related to her, as one who is willing to serve, without any thoughts of reward or pay. I was a volunteer for over thirty years before being asked to come and serve in a paid position. I didn’t seek leadership or position. My only desire was to be a difference for kids, their parents and grandparents. I wanted to learn all I could. I didn’t turn down opportunities to learn and grow as a follower. I completed my elementary education degree so I could make a difference in the public classroom. I used this as a tool to show kids a different way to live so they could make more positive choices for their lives.
An effective leader is a hungry learner. I didn’t stop there. I went on to earn a Master’s degree in educational leadership so I could figure out how to help people work together as a team in God’s Kingdom. God gave me Christian professors along the way that would talk to me personally about how these leadership skills could be honed to help churches make more of a difference in this world. I was blessed to have a husband who supported me in every venture and I supported him in his pastorates (after he left teaching!)
There were setbacks along the way but God was always with us to pick us up from falling down, being ridiculed by others who wanted things to remain the same, and to affirm us. He gave us power and strength when our doubts would creep in and we were overwhelmed by our responsibilities given to us by God. We served still. Most times we said yes without knowing what we would be paid because the call of God was our reward. We knew He would provide. We always felt unworthy and unfit at each opportunity to serve, paid or not, but God qualified and equipped us in ways that amazed us. He still amazes us. He always will.
Serve well with the right motivation of heart and God will bless you with more and more ways to serve. You WILL be tested and tried with troubles but you will grow through those times and learn to lead well because of the lessons learned. As a leader you must learn to follow…Jesus. Jesus sacrificed his life for us. Do we have any idea what it means to serve like Christ? To be like Jesus? To do what Jesus did as a servant to the world? Are we willing to lay down our lives? When we can answer these questions honestly, then we are ready to follow…helping others find and follow Jesus Christ, our Lord.
James and John came to Jesus asking a similar question…”Arrange it so we can be awarded the highest places of honor in your glory…” In other words, we want to be where You are as a leader. Mm.
Jesus response? “You have no idea what you are asking.” Don’t you feel embarrassed for these disciples? Haven’t we seen people who get a little power become dangerous and begin to serve others less and less? That isn’t us, is it?
Mark 10, The Message
The Highest Places of Honor
35 James and John, Zebedee’s sons, came up to him. “Teacher, we have something we want you to do for us.”
36 “What is it? I’ll see what I can do.”
37 “Arrange it,” they said, “so that we will be awarded the highest places of honor in your glory—one of us at your right, the other at your left.”
38 Jesus said, “You have no idea what you’re asking. Are you capable of drinking the cup I drink, of being baptized in the baptism I’m about to be plunged into?”
39-40 “Sure,” they said. “Why not?”
Jesus said, “Come to think of it, you will drink the cup I drink, and be baptized in my baptism. But as to awarding places of honor, that’s not my business. There are other arrangements for that.”
41-45 When the other ten heard of this conversation, they lost their tempers with James and John. Jesus got them together to settle things down. “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around,” he said, “and when people get a little power how quickly it goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage.”
Bottom line: Jesus came to serve, not to be served. Supreme example. Get the idea, now?
Dear Heavenly Father,
We all get the “big head” for power when we see things start to happen. Help us to always give You glory. Because You are the change-maker, the difference deliverer, and the transformational teacher of all! Thank you for teaching us well. Thank you for guiding us all these years and providing for our needs. Thank you for laying your life down for us so that we are free to serve.
In Jesus Name, Amen