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And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.[1]

Source: Mark 10:41-45

Jesus is clear about what is important. It is not about being a leader. It is not about who sits in authority at the right hand of Jesus. It is not even about being a servant leader. Jesus never talks about that.

Jesus calls on us to be servants and he wants us to be slaves. That is, it. There is nothing else. That is our daily job. We live it out at work and at home. This is directly from Jesus and not my personal opinion.

Jesus only came to serve us and sacrifice for us. It is God that put Jesus in charge of God’s country (aka Kingdom). Jesus simply did what his Father wanted him to do.

Jesus is unequivocal. It is only about being a servant and a slave. That is my role. That is God’s goal for me. There is nothing else. I am to serve others and be a slave of Jesus.

Like many people today, the disciples were making the mistake of following the wrong examples. Instead of modeling themselves after Jesus, they were admiring the glory and authority of the Roman rulers, men who loved position and authority. While there is nothing wrong with aspiring to greatness, we must be careful how we define “greatness” and why we want to achieve it. Jesus said, “Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all” (Mark 10:43–44, NASB).

God’s pattern in Scripture is that a person must first be a servant. This was true of Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, Timothy, and even our Master Himself. Unless we know how to obey orders, we do not have the right to give orders. Before a person exercises authority, he or she must know what it means to be under authority. If Jesus the Messiah followed this pattern in accomplishing the great work of redemption, then surely there is no other pattern for us to follow.[2]

What about the model of servant-leadership? There is a lot being said, by “leaders”, about being servant leaders. I have a friend that has written a book on it. He runs a truly great company. It seems to work for him. The premise is you can be a leader if you are a servant.

What does Jesus think? Can you say “Argle Bargle”? Argle Bargle is meaningless talk. It is hokum. Jesus isn’t enamored with my being a leader who serves. Jesus calls on me to be a servant or a slave. Jesus thinks it is Argle Bargle to be called a leader.

Please take a minute to read what Jesus says about this. Pray about it. Seek the will of God.

Here is what Jesus thinks.

But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, the Messiah. But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

Matthew 23:8-12

You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall 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 20:25-28

Jesus doesn’t talk about “servant leadership”. Jesus directs me to be a servant and a slave. That is it. I am not to be a leader who serves.

I am to be a servant. I am to be a slave. Jesus is clear I am not to be called a leader. There is only one leader and that is Jesus.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mk 10:41–45). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, pp. 147–148). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.