Greatness in Jesus’ economy is totally the opposite of everything worldly wisdom holds dear.
The Secret to Greatness
Jesus had two disciples, brothers, who wanted to be the greatest in Jesus’ kingdom. They wanted the right to get to sit at His right (the position of greatest honor) and His left (the second greatest position of honor).
Jesus shared this shocking news with them:
“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.” Matt. 20:25-28
The greatest in His kingdom is humble, not proud.
Pride says things like:
- I know better than God or anyone.
- My wisdom is unparalleled.
- I am equal to or greater than God.
- I am so important.
- I deserve the best.
- I deserve to be greatly exalted and praised.
- People and God should do my will.
Humility says things like:
- God knows better than I do. His wisdom is much higher than mine.
- God alone is sovereign, omniscient, omnipotent, completely holy, perfect, good, loving, just, kind, and righteous. He alone is worthy of worship. I am not.
- God, His will, His kingdom, and His glory are the most important things.
- I don’t deserve good things because I don’t have any merit on my own, but I am so grateful for all of the good blessings I have in Jesus.
- Treating others well is more important than me getting my way.
- I yield my will to God’s will.
- I choose to honor, praise, and exalt God, not myself.
- I am God’s servant, ready to do anything He asks of me.
- I am willing to serve others the way Jesus came to serve me.
THE FOOT-WASHING WAY
Jesus, who is God in the flesh, the Creator of the universe, humbled Himself and washed His disciples dirty, smelly, extremely dusty feet. He took on the job of the lowest slave to set an example of the kind of leadership and greatness He desires in His kingdom (John 13:3-17).
The one who is the greatest in Jesus’ eyes is the most servant-hearted. God exalts those who do not exalt themselves and do not seek honor, power, and glory for themselves.
“Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you.”― Andrew Murray, Humility
God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.
This is true in ministry, it is true in business, it is true in church. And it is true in Christian marriage. For both husbands and wives.
Sometimes, women don’t like the role God assigns to wives in marriage. Some would have us believe that “women are slighted in God’s plan” because they believe leaders are “more important” and they want to be the most important.
However, if we truly understood the accountability, sacrifice, cost, and expectations God has for leaders, we may not be so quick to demand that position for ourselves. Especially if we understood all the ways in which all people are equally loved and valued by God and that value has nothing to do with position or authority levels in His kingdom.
If any of us (male or female) wants to have “the most power” in our human relationships for our own selfish purposes, we have missed the entire point of the example of Jesus.
Living for Jesus is a clear call to joyful servanthood
As a sinner— if we want to talk about what I really deserve, it is hell. But Jesus had great mercy on me. He came to save me from hell and from my sin. He took away the condemnation I earned and deserved, if I have trusted Jesus as my Savior and Lord (please read here for how you can have a saving relationship with Jesus). And He has given me every spiritual treasure He possesses. It’s crazy!
- He takes on my astronomical sin debt and pays it all in full.
- Then He gives me total access to His overflowing spiritual bank account.
He has graciously given me all of His righteousness, goodness, and right standing with God. He has provided for my every spiritual need and for my every need now and in eternity. He gives me a new Spirit and nature. A new identity in Him. Greater love than I have ever known. He has already seated me in heavenly places with Him and even given me some of His authority to participate in the honor of bringing His will into reality on earth.
If only we could grasp even a fraction of these incredible truths!
Knowing Jesus Brings Contentment to My Heart
If I understand who I really am and who Jesus is and what He has done for me, I can be more than content serving any role He has for me in this world, as long as I get to be close to Him. I want to serve Him! Out of overflowing gratitude and love, not out of duty or drudgery.
What does it matter to me if I live in obscurity or in a position of worldly influence and power as long as I have Him?
All of my life is for His glory and His purposes now, not for myself!
If Jesus is my Lord, I will be willing and eager to serve in any capacity He has prepared for me. Whatever that may be. My only goal is to use the gifts and opportunities He has given me to exalt Him and bless and love others. I want to let Him bear much fruit in and through me. I long for His will, not mine.
If I am fully yielded to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, no one can steal the blessings and spiritual treasures and miracles God has for me. If I choose to live by faith in Jesus, no weapon formed against me shall prosper and God will open the floodgates of heaven to accomplish all he wants to do in and through me.
The Lord Calls All Christians to Servanthood, Dying to Self, and Sacrifice
Ultimately, in marriage and in the Body of Christ, we are all called to humbly serve and love God and others. Leaders are simply called to go an “extra mile,” sacrificing themselves all the more and using their strength, position, and power for the good of those in their care.
That is why we are to respect them and cooperate with them, (but never follow anyone into sin), to make their job to honor the Lord easier, not harder. And that is why we are to use our influence authority for good, not to try to lead them astray or trip them up.
Honestly, all of us are called to be leaders of some type, as believers in God’s kingdom. Maybe we are moms, mentors, leaders at work, or maybe we have ministries for the Lord. All of us have positions of influence or authority somewhere, although the exact positions may be different. All of us have spiritual gifts to bless the Body of Christ.
Equal Value but Different Roles and Gifts
We don’t all have access to every possible leadership position or spiritual gift. But we all have total access to every good gift God has provided for us specifically and for believers in general.
- My husband is the head of our marriage and family, not because he chooses to be but because God decided he should be to accomplish His good purpose of displaying the Gospel through our marriage.
- As a woman, I do not seek every possible position of leadership in the church because God’s Word gives us the qualifications for specific leadership positions and I choose to honor His design.
Each of us is valued and loved equally. But we have different roles and gifts!
We cannot all be the eye. We are not all the foot. We are not all the right hand. God gives each of us certain gifts, according to His wisdom, for us to use to bless everyone else (1 Corinthians 12). He arranges all the parts as He desires them to be. We all need each other! And each of us have important roles to fulfill that will bring glory to Jesus and the kingdom, not to ourselves.
Greatness Is Available to Each of Us!
Servanthood doesn’t mean we become people pleasers, it means we become God pleasers.
All of us have the ability to seek greatness in Christ as we humble ourselves and empty ourselves of self, allowing God to fill us up to overflowing with Himself. There is no limit to what God is willing to do through a completely yielded vessel who is willing to take on a Spirit of servanthood just like Jesus did in Philippians 2:1-11!
Does this concept surprise you? If so, how?
What has God shown you about the blessing and honor of servanthood and humility?
How has it impacted your marriage or other relationships for good?
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What Was the Significance of Jesus Washing the Disciples’ Feet? by www.gotquestions.org
What Is the Biblical Pattern of Church Leadership? by www.gotquestions.org
What Are the Qualifications of Elders and Deacons? by www.gotquestions.org
Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem