Thursday, October 8

Serving self or others?

Scripture: Nehemiah 1-2, Psalm 133, Luke 22

Luke 22:24–27 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

Observation

When Jesus predicted his betrayal and death, the disciples asked each other who would do such a thing, and that led into this argument about which of them was the greatest.  It wasn’t the first time they had this argument, but it was certainly the most inappropriate!

Jesus once again (I wonder if He ever got tired of repeating Himself) reminds them that greatness in His kingdom is measured by service, not by wielding authority.  “You are not to be like that,” Jesus said, referring to the Gentile leaders lording it over others.  “I am among you as one who serves.”  That is our model.

Application

Two things.

First, I’m checking my heart again.  It’s easy to slide into self-serving authoritarianism.  I get frustrated when others won’t do what I want.  But I’m called to serve others like Jesus, not lord it over them to get what I want.  Jesus said He came not to be served but to serve.  That’s a great measure for me: am I seeking to be served or to serve others?

Second, we are in an election season when we choose our “public servants.”  That’s what they’re called—and what they’re supposed to be.  But as Jesus pointed out, that’s often not the case.  One of the criteria we should use for voting is this: is this candidate a public servant?  Is he/she seeking to serve the common good, or their own good?  It’s hard to tell sometimes…but it’s worth considering.  Our best elected officials are truly public servants.

Prayer: Lord, help me to want to serve others, not be served.  And give us elected officials who are truly public servants.