Authority and Service; May 21, 2018

Matthew 20:26-28 “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

It strikes me as significant that this incident came up immediately after Jesus had again predicted His death and resurrection (vv. 17-19). This shows how oblivious the apostles were to what was really happening. What a time for James and John to get their mother to ask for special favors in Jesus’ kingdom! In calming the uproar that naturally occurred when the other disciples realized what James and John were doing, Jesus said what is recorded here. He had just stated that He would be “mocked and flogged and crucified,” (v. 19) and now He tells all His disciples that is the price of leadership in His kingdom. This needs to be stressed a lot more in seminaries around the world! One of the biggest problems in the Church is that it runs far too much like merely human governments and corporations. Far too few leaders are genuinely focused on the benefit of those they lead. At the same time, they are often jealous of one another. Just last night in the Omura Ministerial Association it was mentioned that the Archbishop of Nagasaki drives a Lexus, and frankly, the comments weren’t so nice. I have no idea of the circumstances of his having such an expensive car, but it’s fine with me if he does. The point is where his heart is, as it is with each of us. God blesses in many ways, including materially, but if those blessings are the focus of our service, we have lost sight of our calling.

A couple of months ago in a coaching seminar the participants were asked to have someone who knew them well to supply a word or two to describe them. A close pastor friend said “serving” described me. If true, I am grateful, but I must not be proud of it. I have seen too many people who were proud of being humble! I have always felt conflicted about authority. I’m not good at delegating, which has not been good for this church because I haven’t given others sufficient opportunities to serve. I realize that I am given spiritual authority, not only in this church but also in this city and this nation, but I don’t know well how to exercise that authority. I want everything that is in my hands to fulfill the purpose for which God has given it to me, but I’m not sure of the details of that. I don’t want to go running off on my own! It seems ironic that this church has been battered to the point it is right now, but that may be an indication of the level of threat we are to the enemy, that he would come against us so strongly. I need to be submitted enough to my Lord to hear clearly what He is saying, so that I may obey without hesitation, for His glory.

Father, thank You for Your incredible faithfulness and grace. Help me respond to You more and more accurately, more and more fully, so that all of Your plans for me may be fulfilled, on Your schedule and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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