Scripture Reading: Matthew 20:20-28
“What is your request?” he asked. She replied, “In your kingdom, will you let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one at your right and the other at your left?” (Mt. 20:21 NLT)
There are two possible motives why a person would want to be in a leadership role. Either a person wants to serve others, or they want to serve themselves. Unfortunately, there are some who are in leadership positions solely to fulfill personal ambitions regardless of the needs of others. This is especially true in the marketplace. Perhaps you have witnessed those who seek to climb the ladder of success and notoriety by stepping over those below them. I’ve heard it said that in the business world it is a dog eat dog affair.
The mother of Zebedee’s sons had the same self-serving motivation when she asked Jesus to put her two sons in positions of authority in his coming kingdom. It is obvious from the context in Matthew 20 that her two sons were privy to this request. When Jesus asked them if they were able to bear the same suffering that he was about to endure they responded, “We are able” (v.22). “You will indeed drink from it,” he told them (v. 23).
How do you see yourself as a leader in God’s kingdom? God has chosen you and me to be leaders in our homes, workplaces, communities, and churches. These leadership roles require people to be in positions of authority over the lives of others. How they exercise this authority is the real test of their character. Will they seek control in order to lord it over the brethren, or for the purpose of serving them?
Jesus stated his purpose in coming down to earth in Mark 10:45. It would be well for each of us to commit this purpose to memory and practice it in our lives. Jesus said, “For even I, the Son of Man, came here not be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many.” (NLT)
The Apostle Paul’s advice is well worth following: “Don’t be selfish, don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don’t think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing.” (Ph 2:3-4)
What kind of leader will you choose to be? Are you committed to serving the welfare of others? Or will you use your God given authority for a self-serving agenda? If we desire to lead, we must be willing to follow the example and leadership that Jesus exemplified while here among us.
Prayer: Dear Lord, you modeled the kind of leadership that you want us to follow. Help me be a leader that shows compassion, humility, and grace.