“So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen” (Mathew 20:16)
Once at a certain function a high table had been set for one renown ArchBishop who had just presided over an event. However, as he was being marched to his seat at the head of the table, the Arch Bishop stepped back and took a seat at the very end of the table. The organizers panicked. His place was at the head; the Arch Bishop had to be pulled off the small chair, and dragged to take his seat at the head of the table where there was indeed a big chair reserved for him.
Contrast his reluctance with a now familiar scene on many roads, where top officials habitually demand right of way, pushing others into the trenches. In many public organizations and even churches seniority means perks like a private parking space and your name at the top of the allowance list, regardless of one’s contribution. Titles are habitually thrown around as though to put others in the corner.
The Jesus way is quite different. During the last supper, “he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him” ( John 13:4-5). One may feel the shock of the disciples whose notion of a leader was anything but bending down to clean their dirty feet.
Jesus noticed the confusion, and to clarify he pointed out to them, “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” ( vv 13- 15).
Perhaps you have heard of a term called “servant leadership”. In this case we see a radical view of what leadership means. It is not to put self-first; but those we serve first! It is not to seek one’s interest first; but those we serve first! Shocking? Of course! After all culturally many of us have been raised with notion that a leader is supposed to be served, and not the other way round.
Yet imagine a case were our leaders at home, in local councils, organizations, churches and government, put others interest first. What a difference it would make. May we pray for such leaders, as we take after Jesus in practicing servant leadership.
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, as you have taught us to serve others first, may we practice servant leadership in our daily walk of life, with the help of our Lord Jesus Christ!
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“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful” – ( 2 Timothy 4:7).
Fighting may be looked at as a non-desirable way of life, especially by those who are pacifists. In fact, throughout Christian history there are many who have literally taken Jesus’s admonition of “turn the other cheek” in Mathew 5:39, to mean nonresistance in the face of attack. The fact that Jesus rebuked the Apostle Peter for drawing a sword against his captors ( Mathew 26:52), means giving in to those who attack them, as a sign of humility.
Yes, of course there are moments where Christians must practice that humility and give in to those who attack them well remembering His word, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord” ( Romans 12:19). However, that said, Believers in Christ would be mistaken to imagine that they must not fight for their faith, whenever under attack. For in reality, the faith of believers is under constant attack from Satan, who comes to “kill and destroy” ( John 10:1).
Faced with this, Paul went at great length to advise Christians to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” ( Ephesians 6:11). To ward of constant attacks by the enemy Paul challenged us to “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” ( vv 14-17).
Paul is telling us that if you think that ours is a walk over faith where you are not going to fight back against the attacks of the enemy you are very mistaken. Fight we must, and hold our ground. The devil respects that! And when all is done, we can then gladly say, “we have fought the good fight, finished the race” and thank God Almighty we are free at last!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise ready to resist the attacks of the enemy, by wearing the full of armor of God, and with the sword of the Spirit, fight back to victory, this I pray in Jesus’ name!