Read Matthew 17:1-21:22.
Is leadership all about being on top? Does it amount to being a ruler? Are the greatest people in Idaho Falls those who exercise authority? Typically, that is the natural, logical thinking. We have an inborn desire to elevate ourselves and/or others.
But our New Testament reading this past week really puts things in perspective – there is only One who is in the category of topping all the human charts. Long ago, a voice from heaven thundered from a cloud high above a mountain top: “THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED. HEAR HIM!” Upon hearing that, disciples around Jesus fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. They never forgot that experience for the rest of their lives.
And the lessons by the Son of God to my own heart have been quite powerful this week. The King teaches, “Many who are first will be last, and the last first” (Matt. 19:30). He reiterates it again in Matthew 20:16 and then drives it home with this, “Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28). Being a slave doesn’t sound like the American way. But it’s God way in Christian discipleship.
It all reminds me of what I recently read in The Trailman’s Handbook (2013) under the new scouting organization, Trail Life USA. To all ready trailmen, “As the Bible teaches, those who would be great must be servants of others.”