Because leaders oversee the ministry and bear much responsibility, one could assume that they hold a higher place than other members of the body, that they are more important and more essential to the work, that they have the upper edge.
That assumption, however, doesn't seem to fit into God's economy.
- God views every member of the body as important and needed. (1 Cor. 12:22-25)
- God gives the grace and power needed for everyone to do their part, regardless of who the person is and what the Spirit has assigned for that person to do. (Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12:11)
- God opposes pride which tends to be at the root of a sense of superiority to others. (Prov. 8:13; 16:5; James 4:6)
- God promotes servanthood, not a hierarchy of one person at the top and the others beneath the leader. (Matt. 20:25-28)
- God defines love as that which "does not boast," "is not proud," and "is not self-seeking." (1 Cor. 13:4, 5)
Lesson from Jesus about Humility, Not Superiority:
James and John, two of Jesus' disciples, asked Jesus for the privilege of sitting one on each side of Him in glory ... a place of honor, like as though they deserved an edge over the other disciples.
Jesus' Exhortation: Using your position to control others is worldly.
Jesus called them together and said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all." (Mk. 10:42-44)Jesus' Example: Effectively leading requires humility, having the heart of a servant.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mk. 10:45)
Lessons from Jesus on Relating with Others:
- Jesus did not let His position (God, the highest position there could be) affect His attitude among those He served.
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death -- even death on a cross! (Phil. 2:5-8)
Lesson for Leaders:
- Jesus waited for God to raise Him up. He did not exalt Himself.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death -- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name ... (Phil. 2:8-9)
Lesson for Leaders:
Caution: Do not fall into the trap of false humility.
The Apostle Paul, one of the greatest church leaders, understood that he was who he was because of God's grace, yet he still acknowledged how God used him (1 Cor. 15:10). At the end of the day, God gets the glory. He will use you, but He is the One who brings the growth, not you (1 Cor. 3:5-11).
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