Service That Trumps Control - The One Year Salt and Light Devotional

Service That Trumps Control

Mark 10:35-45

Among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant. (Mark 10:43)

JOSEPH STALIN WAS OBSESSIVE about his image and hypersensitive to criticism—not only for the threat of subversion it might represent, but also for the offense to his ego. Stalin is certainly not history’s only authoritarian ruler to quash all hints of dissent. Many rulers of this world have focused on their own authority and image in the eyes of those who serve under them. Few have focused on the needs of others simply to help meet those needs. Rather they meet needs for the sake of reinforcing their image as benevolent rulers, acting out of self-interest rather than compassion. Those who “serve the people” almost always seem to give in to the temptation to serve themselves instead.

There are exceptions, of course, but there should be more. Jesus insisted that his followers are never to enter into the dynamics of domination, and he gave us a startling picture of what true leadership looks like. The King of the universe came to serve and to give up his own life for the benefit of others. He knew how to issue commands, but never for any reason other than meeting the needs of others and serving the higher interests of those who follow him. He demonstrated that leaders first and foremost are not those who rule well but those who submit well—to God and to the ultimate good. He established servant leadership as the Kingdom norm.

As in every other attitude, Christians are meant to be agents of the alternate way. Having a servant’s heart will change the atmosphere, make a profound impression on the people around you, and open their hearts to the reality of God’s nature. You may at times feel (and be treated as if) you are giving up too much or being a doormat, but do not grow weary in doing well (Galatians 6:9). You do not have to become a doormat to demonstrate the deference and humility of God’s Kingdom. An attitude of service disarms powers no one else sees and sets the stage for the Spirit of love.

{Holy Spirit, your power is always captivating, never enslaving; always inviting, never enforcing; and always giving, never demanding. May I serve with the same power in order to open hearts to your generous love. Amen.

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