top of page

It Shall Not Be So Among You

“But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’.” ~ Matthew 20:26-28


Through all the changes at Faith Community over the last 7 years, one of the things that has made a considerable impression on me is the ways in which people have stepped in to serve. Shifts have left gaps and many of those have been filled by ordinary church-goers, volunteering behind the scenes. Out of the spotlight. It has been a blessing and encouragement to watch these quiet, steady servants give of themselves amid uncertain times.


I’m not sure anything shows that a life has been genuinely gospel-transformed more than someone serving in the day-to-day, without expecting in return. Investing their lives without accolades. Giving time, talent and resources to God’s kingdom work. And while man may not notice true servants, God takes pleasure in them. Christ says these are the great ones. “But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave…”(Mtt 20:26-27).


I’m not sure anything shows that a life has been genuinely gospel-transformed more than someone serving in the day-to-day, without expecting in return.

In this same chapter of Matthew, Jesus took the disciples aside to remind them that He would be put to death by the chief priests and scribes. No sooner had these words of suffering left His mouth that the mother of James and John approached Jesus to ask if her sons could sit on either side of Him in glory.


This is not the only time we see the disciples' pride revealing itself. In Matthew 18, the disciples come asking Jesus “who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”. And again in Luke 22, it tells us that as Jesus is speaking of His impending death to the disciples and teaching them to remember the gospel through the act of communion, they were busy quarreling about which of them would be regarded as the greatest.


My first reaction to reading these verses is to put the disciples down, to ridicule their arrogance; but the reality is, after some thought, I’m relieved for such an accurate depiction of the human heart. Especially among Christ’s closest companions. How often I’m given over to selfishness, laziness and jealousy. Wanting recognition. How often I forget it is “more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35) and that I am to be devoted to others in love, honoring them above myself (Rom 12:10). I am in desperate need of the Savior and His grace every day.


Jesus' answer to James and John’s mother and the rest of the disciples wholly contradicts the world’s definition of greatness. His response is surprising, strong and beautiful.


But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’.” ~ Matthew 20:26-28


“It shall not be so among you”. These words make me tear up every time I read them. It is normal in the world to want to work your way up, stepping over (and sometimes on) others. It is typical to want the place of honor and power at someone else’s expense. Domineering those “below you” while marketing your own fame. Sadly, this attitude can be in churches as well, using the Bible for prominence and control (See 1 Cor 12). Jesus passionately disapproves, “it shall not be so among you.”


God’s kingdom is entirely different. Upside down. The path to greatness in the Church is walking in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility (Eph 4:1-2a). It is denying yourself, taking up your cross and following Christ (Mark 8:34). There is no room for self-exaltation or self-promotion. Those who lead, as their Lord did, get there through the path of suffering and service.


The path to greatness in the Church is walking in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility.

The Greek word for servant in Matthew 20 is “diakonos” . It means “those who advance others’ interests even at the sacrifice of their own”(Blue Letter Bible). It’s a life, not of busyness for busyness sake, but of selfless, enduring, loss for the good of others.


I thank God there are people at FCC like this, servants who pour their lives into the needs around them. Those who abide in prayer, who comfort the sick and hurting, who bring meals to the struggling, clean the church facility, counsel the down-hearted, run technology in our services, minister to our children, make the atmosphere inviting, take care of finances and on and on. As I write out this list, I am picturing your faces. Faces that stand out and shine like lights in a dark world because you have the mindset of Christ.


“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” ~ Phil 2:5-11


All who desire to be in ministry, especially leaders and those who disciple, should approach their work believing, “whoever would be great among you must be your servant.” John MacArthur has said, “We have established the simple principle from the Scripture, and that is that you cannot lead until you have proven you can serve. You cannot be given the rulership role: you cannot be given the responsibility at the broad level until you have shown the humble heart of a servant.”


You cannot be given the rulership role: you cannot be given the responsibility at the broad level until you have shown the humble heart of a servant.

Doesn’t this agree with the Word of God? If you want to be great, serve.


Our precious Redeemer, the only One who is preeminent, supreme, above all went lower than anyone else ever has before. He is our perfect model, leading by example. Jesus said to His ambitious disciples, “even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Christ, identifying himself with humanity, volunteered to be humiliated on a cross as our substitution. Willingly despised, mocked, hurt and abandoned to advance our good by His sacrifice. Giving His life to pay for the freedom of many. There is no greater act of service.


I so badly wanted to call out, by name, the ones I’ve seen that serve FCC without drawing attention. I decided against it, not wanting to embarrass or miss anyone. Please know - many praise God for you and that you are a gift to this church. Even more, you are serving the Lord and He sees. Take all delight in that.


“...whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies - in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” ~ 1 Peter 4:11



78 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page