Friday, March 30, 2012

Lent 5 - Friday - Servant Leadership

Text: Mark 10:32-45 (see below)

Now we are nearing the heart of the matter, the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. Holy Week and Easter come every year about this time. Yet, each time it is different because we have arrived at a different place. What struck me last year in the story may not strike me this year. Perhaps Maundy Thursday will move me more than Good Friday. Maybe the simplified chant of a psalm at the Great Vigil will bring tears to my eyes instead of the glorious hymn “Jesus Christ is Risen Today” on Easter Day. Every year is different and yet it is the same.

The lesson for today speaks to me about servanthood. Jesus said, “Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.” Those words are almost foreign to our world in which power and authority are glorified as something to be attained. James and John are lost in that myth with their request of Jesus: “We want a seat of authority. Give us some power, Jesus, so that we can have our say over others.”

The Master is once again a patient teacher. With little time remaining, Jesus offers a teaching about true greatness. His concept of leadership is one that embraces humility, it places others first, and it appears to have little room for personal agendas. What agenda does a slave have? Does this kind of leadership exist in today’s Church?

Obviously, Jesus’ example was not a “one shot deal” for if we read on in the New Testament there are stories and examples of this model of radical reformed leadership that transcend the principalities and powers of this world. The Book of Acts is a marvelous example of servant leadership. Such a model was a witness to Jesus and probably the best evangelism that was ever accomplished in Jesus’ Name. Not only did the early Church leaders replicate Jesus’ pattern of servant leadership but they trained others to do the same as we read in the Book of Ephesians, for example, or in 1 Peter.

We are nearing the end of Lent and ready to retell the story of our redemption. Jesus will be for us the true servant leader. The Master will become the slave and in so doing Jesus will transform everything that we thought to be true. Life is not about power. Life is not about authority. Life is not about being in control. Our power lies in our powerlessness, Our authority comes not from selfish ego but from God alone. Our witness does not come from being in control but being a servant to one another.

This year, Holy Week is different. This year the Gospel story is the same. This year, will the members of the Church finally appreciate and value the message and example of Jesus becoming a community of servant leaders?

Love One Another – Brian

We Must Serve Before We Can Lead
William Arthur Ward

"We must be silent before we can listen. We must listen before we can learn. We must learn before we can prepare. We must prepare before we can serve. We must serve before we can lead."

Source: Leadership . . . with a human touch.

Mark 10:32-45
They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, ‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles; they will mock him, and spit upon him, and flog him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise again.’ James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, ‘Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.’ And he said to them, ‘What is it you want me to do for you?’ And they said to him, ‘Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.’ But Jesus said to them, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’ They replied, ‘We are able.’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.’ When the ten heard this, the began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, ‘You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.’

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