Read Mark 10:35-45.
“Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. 44 And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many (Mark 10:43-45).”
You may be a leader in women’s ministry, or aspiring to make a greater impact in the world for Christ. In either situation, it is vital to remember that Jesus is looking for women who desire to be great servants. It is in service to others that true greatness is found. It is developing a heart like Christ’s, who in demonstration of His love and sacrifice for others, continually manifested the glory of the Father. It is dangerous to think about Christian leadership as anything other than service. James and John got it wrong and so can we. They said to Jesus,
“Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.”
It is true that a few days earlier Jesus had promised that when He came into His glory, they would sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). But the disciples wrongly asked for preeminence, power and position. Yes, they wanted to make a difference in the world for Christ, but had no understanding of the cost and sacrifice it would require. Jesus does not rebuke James and John, or call them out on their pride. He does not quench their holy ambition and desire to be near Him. Instead, He prompts them to consider what they are asking for,
“You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”
James and John quickly answered,
“We are able.”
I am sure James and John thought back to that day many times, as they suffered for Christ. I am sure they recognized that indeed, they were “not” able. Their rash response overlooked the cost and commitment that Jesus requires of His leaders. Leadership was not what they thought it would be.
So it is with us that Jesus calls to lead. We are to give our lives in service to others. Many leaders prematurely quit the ministry, because like James and John they were in it for the wrong reasons. When people got the best of them, or when what was required seemed too hard, they got out.
It is an incredible privilege that God uses ordinary people to accomplish His extraordinary purpose and plan. It is even more amazing that He supplies us with His power, and places us in a position to accomplish His will. But let us remember that our desires to glorify God with our lives will always end in the way of the cross. Our bold requests to be a part of His kingdom plan will always mean a dying to self, and a rising to live for others. As we consider “leadership”, we are not here to be served, but to serve and give our lives so others may know and grow in Christ.
“Good leaders must first become good servants.”
― Robert K. Greenleaf