“Mommy, will you promise to say yes to whatever I ask you?” is a dangerous and loaded question on the lips of an eight-year old. But somehow when two brothers ask Jesus to grant whatever they ask, He doesn’t bat an eye. In Mark 10, Jesus simply responds, “What do you want Me to do for you?” James and John confess that what they want is power and prestige in the kingdom of God. Before we condemn them too harshly, which of us wouldn’t want to make God’s list of great people? It is not their request that is faulty. The problem is that they don’t understand true greatness in God’s kingdom, so Jesus uses this opportunity to teach them about leadership. People without God (Gentiles) lord their authority over everyone else. Christ says His kingdom is different. A leader in the church uses his authority to serve others. Jesus says that whoever wants to be the greatest on God’s list of great people in the kingdom must be the servant of all.

Jesus sets the example for church leaders today. Elders may be tempted to be served. When a job needs doing, it natural for us to ask, “Whose job is it?” and look to hand it off to someone else. But a leader (someone who wants to be great in the kingdom) must do all he can to be a servant to others. This is especially true when our service costs us something. The Son of Man was a servant and gave his life as a ransom for many. True service will always have a price, and leaders are willing to pay it.

It is interesting to note that Jesus builds relationship into the fabric of leadership, too. The service Jesus models and teaches is face-to-face service. As elders serve the flock, they build the relationships that are necessary for them to lead the flock as God desires.

Today I will…resolve to serve others as Christ did. I will look for ways that I can meet the needs of others. I will also watch closely to see others who set a good example in this area and thank them for their good examples.