We love our community and want to show the love of Christ tangibly in our neighborhoods, workplaces and homes. This summer, through weekend sermons, small group curriculum and daily devotionals, we will discover how serving can make a difference in our community, makes an impact for God and grows our faith. Join us as we discover significance through serving.
We are in week 3 of our Why I Serve series. Let’s review the last two weeks.
All about God’s love for us. Before we love God or love anyone. He loved us. The first duty as a Christian is not to do anything, but to enjoy the love of God.
How to serve your family and the specific role of fathers. While we may have father wounds, we are able to break that cycle and be a mentor to someone else. We can look to God as Father in our life.
This week we’re diving in to how serving affects our leadership. What does serving and leadership have in common? Those sounds like two opposite principles, a contradiction. It may seem that way on the surface, but when we look at what the Bible says about leadership and how Jesus says to lead, we’ll find these two principles fit right in with each other.
One of the things we often don’t think to look to the Bible for is leadership principles, but Jesus was an incredible leader. He was more than a leader. He was the Savior of the world. He had disciples He poured into and they carried on His message. We’re going to look at a passage today where Jesus unpacks what it means to be a leader.
Today we’re in Mark’s gospel. Mark wasn’t one of the twelve disciples, but was a believer who had investigated the claims of Christ. Mark was a friend of Peter. In this book, Peter described these things to Mark and Mark wrote them down.
Before we jump to the passage for today, take a look at what happens right before. There was a rich young ruler who came to Jesus and asked “what must I do to be saved?” Jesus said, you have to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, love your neighbor as yourself and keep the commands. The man said, “I’ve done this.” Then Jesus looked at this man, and it says, “Jesus had great love for this man.” Jesus looked into his heart and saw what this guy’s real issues were and said, “you need get everything you have and sell it to the poor.” Jesus could see that money had a stronghold on this guy’s heart. They have this conversation and the disciples are so amazed and they wonder who could ever make it into the kingdom of God? Who could have a relationship with Jesus and fulfill these requirements? Sometimes we think we can just follow Jesus and it’s really easy. But there’s a cost to it. It’s difficult. The disciples just saw someone walk away. Let’s pick it up in Mark 10:32.
“They were now on the way up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. The disciples were filled with awe, and the people following behind were overwhelmed with fear. Taking the twelve disciples aside, Jesus once more began to describe everything that was about to happen to him. ‘Listen,’ he said, ‘we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die and hand him over to the Romans. They will mock him, spit on him, flog him with a whip, and kill him, but after three days he will rise again.’ Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came over and spoke to him. ‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘we want you to do us a favor.’ ‘What is your request?’ he asked. They replied, ‘When you sit on your glorious throne, we want to sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.'” Mark 10:32-37 (NLT)
The disciples are still under the assumption at some point Jesus is going to throw off this spiritual, teacher robe and put on a king’s robe. He’s going to become the king of Israel and they want to make sure when he steps into that place of authority, they will be close to the king. They want to be on His right and left, in those positions of authority with influence and leadership.
“When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. So Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.” Mark 10:41-42 (NLT)
Essentially, he lays this out to them: You know what authority is in our culture? They lord and flaunt their authority over those under them. You know how this system works. People in positions of authority, have people under their authority and those people serve at the leader’s benefit.
Leadership is influence.
If you have any influence in someones life, you’re their leader. We all have influence in some capacity. There are people that we speak into with our actions. People gain influence, authority and leadership because they are amazing at serving and care about people. People become teachers because they love students, become nurses and doctors and technicians because they care about people, go into political office to make a difference and to serve and go into coaching because they love developing and serving people. The people who get promoted in the workplace are those who took the mission and the vision of the company personally and started going the extra mile to serve.
What can happen is over time, service becomes serve us.
When the authority or power comes, we stop giving up our lives, and think it’s time our company gives up something for us. You served and parented your kids when they were little and now it’s time they serve you. We begin to lord our leadership over others.
“But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else.'” Mark 10:43-44 (NLT)
Jesus just took this whole leadership structure, the one that they operated in, the one they knew and flipped the whole thing upside down. If you want to lead, you have to serve. If you want to first, you have to be a slave.
Jesus isn’t arguing against point leadership. He’s not arguing against one person being in charge, because Jesus was in charge. He was the point leader of those 12 men. He wasn’t fighting against getting things done. Jesus got things done. He had three years of his ministry that infiltrated that area. Right now there are millions of people on the planet that know the message of the gospel.
Jesus tells us that the way you use your power is different. If we get this right, it changes the culture of your organization, your family, your ministry, your team. Because if as a leader you’re “for you”, all the people under your leadership going to be “for themselves” as well. You might work in an organization like that. You have to look out for yourself. Always looking behind your back.
That’s not the way that God has asked us to do it. That’s not the way to greatness. If we’re “for others”, if we put other people first, then they don’t have to worry about watching their back and they can be for the people below them. Here’s the big idea and what Jesus was teaching:
Two Things We Can Do
What are some practical things we can do? Starting this week here are two things you can do to change the culture, no matter what situation it is. Take these two principles and instill them as you leverage your authority and make a big impact. The first is a question you can ask.
1. Question: What can I do to help?
Imagine if your boss, supervisor, parent, spouse or coach sat down across from you and asked, “What can I do to help? How can I set you up for success?” Maybe you have this kind of relationship with the people in authority in your life. Maybe you wish you did. Don’t give up on this message because you don’t have this kind of boss. You can apply it with or without their help to those under our authority. If we intentionally do this, it sets us in the right place in our position. Our authority is for the benefit of others. The second one is a principle to build into your life.
2. Look for opportunities to do for one, what you wish you could do for everyone.
As a leader one of the things that can hold you back is trying to be fair. Maybe you can’t do something for everyone, but you can do it for one person and it will benefit them greatly. Jesus had had 12 disciples, but he had three out of the twelve he spent more time with. He only took a few to the Mount of Transfiguration. You can’t serve everyone. You can’t meet everyone’s hunger, but you can for one. You can’t adopt every orphan, but you can adopt one. You can’t share the gospel with everyone, but you can for one. You can’t meet all your neighbors needs, but you can for one. This is how we make a difference. Serve when you can, where you can.
If we think, we can’t do it for everyone, so we won’t do it for anyone. That’s a trap. You can’t bless everyone, so you’ll bless no one? What would this look like if you just systematically did for one what you wish you could do for all? It’s not for your benefit. It’s for the benefit of others that changes the culture. It flips that structure upside down. That’s the way God’s called us to lead. That’s the way God has asked us to leverage our authority.
We end up preaching the gospel every single day and pointing people to Jesus with our actions because our actions are lined up with Jesus Christ, who leveraged His authority for those under His authority.
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 (NLT)
If anyone deserved to come and be serve, it’s God. He deserves it. Jesus put on the human jersey not be served, but to serve. He came to give His life as a ransom for many. He gave himself completely for us. He didn’t just say it or instruct it, He lived it out. Jesus says, “I love and care about you so much that I want you to spend eternity with me.” On our own we’re separated from God. But Jesus leveraged his power and authority for the benefit of those under his authority. For our benefit, not His. All He requires of us is that we accept that by faith. He didn’t come down here to give His life so you can try and earn it. All you have to do is believe.
If you have questions about a relationship with Jesus or would like to know how to begin living under His authority, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have any more questions or conclusions after reflecting on the Father’s Day message?
- Allow God to heal the father wound.
- Find a father and be a father.
- Relate to God as father.
Hear the Word
Read Mark 10:32-37,41-45
Leadership is influence. We are all leaders because we all have influence in someone’s life. Jesus tells us the way to great leadership is not to flaunt that authority over others, but to leverage our authority for the benefit of those under our authority.
- What stood out to you in this message?
- What does it look like for a leader to lord their authority over those under them?
- Jesus has ultimate authority and power. How did He use His power?
- In what ways do you have influence and leadership, even power and authority over others? In your job? Family? Ministry? Friendships? Classroom?
- How can you leverage your authority for the benefit of those under your authority?
Tell Someone Else
The best way to share this message with someone else is to first set an example of godly, servant leadership. Who can you ask, “What can I do to help?”
What opportunities are in front of you to do for one what you wish you could do for everyone?