Matthew 20 – Looking Up

At 5’7”, I am of average height but I do find that I am looking up at people quite a bit. One of my colleagues in ministry that I served with for several years was nearly 7’ tall – we made quite a pair when leading up front. But here’s the thing…regardless of what our actual height is, the posture of a Christian should always be one of looking up. We are to obviously be looking up to God, but Jesus speaks in Matthew 20 words that are so not what the world speaks of for leadership. As Christians, we are not to be looking down at others but instead looking up to how we can serve others. Whoever wishes to be great must be the servant…Jesus came not to be served but to give his life as a ransom for many. There’s the term “holier than thou” and I have been guilty of that as have many many Christians and many feel those words describe Christianity all too well. But my job as a Christian, as a husband, as a father, as a pastor is not to look down but instead to be looking up. After all, it was Jesus who knelt before each of his disciples to wash their feet. In his book Christ in Crisis, Jim Wallis in reflecting on the question of power with Jesus quotes John Calvin, one of the leaders of the Reformation from about 500 years ago on his view of power in the church and the world…

Jesus describes worldly leadership, where the top man lords it over others but then demands the title of “Benefactor”! But then He states, “But not so with you” (22: 26). Worldly leadership is not a model for biblical leadership. Biblical leadership does not lord it over people, even though at times it must exercise authority (1 Pet. 5: 3; Titus 2: 15). Biblical leadership does not demand recognition and status. It does not pay attention to titles. It does not use its position for personal advantage at others’ expense. In all these areas, worldly leadership models selfish men seeking selfish advantage. Biblical leadership models servanthood, even at personal sacrifice or inconvenience.

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