“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be the servant of all.” (Jesus, from Mark 10:43-44)
We have been looking into the issue of a lack of power in our churches – seeking to understand the reasons behind why our churches do not resemble the normal Christianity that we see displayed in the Book of Acts.
Today, we get personal.
At the heart of possessing power in the Kingdom of God is a heart of selfless service. Jesus told His disciples the secret of the power of God working within Him…
We have this notion (deeply embedded in our human nature) that greatness is directly tied to our own importance. We desire greatness because it makes us important, valued, respected, esteemed. We cherish the opinion of others – and find that our desire for our own greatness bubbles to the surface quite often.
Jesus’ disciples were no different. Several times we see that the subject of “who will be greatest?” consumed their thoughts — and was the source of much “discussion” between them (Mt. 18:1; Mk. 9:34; Lk. 9:46, 22:24).
We human beings certainly have a longing for importance – and that longing can often get in the way of God’s mission and purpose for us.
It just may be that, in our heart of hearts, we want God’s power in our lives because it makes us important, significant… great. But God is not really interested in granting the mantle of His power to those who utilize that power for their own gain.
That is precisely what Jesus had to teach His disciples. It was the explicit lesson of the Master, in the upper room, right before He went to the cross. Jesus took up the basin and the towel and performed the menial (and demeaning) task of washing the disciples’ feet. Reminding them that without servanthood, they could have no part in Him (John 13:8). The Lord humbled Himself to the lowest form of service and then declared: “I have given you an example to follow. Do just as I have done to you.” (John 13:15) Jesus never discouraged greatness – He just defined it… in line with the values of the Kingdom of God.
As seen in the ministry of Jesus, the power of God was never used to “show off” or to command attention or to warrant worship – the power of God was always used to serve people in need… and to glorify the God of Heaven.
It was a lesson the disciples eventually understood. The men we see in the Book of Acts are noticeably different than the men who followed Jesus around wherever He went. Their attitudes were different. Their objectives were different. And their ministry was different. They were no longer interested in being great – they had embraced the attitude of Jesus Who “came to serve, not to be served.” (see also Philippians 2:3-8)
And the power of God rested upon them – as they found abundant opportunities to perform many signs and wonders that impacted their world (see Acts 2:43; 5:12).
Could it be that the lack of power in our churches reveals something that still resides in our hearts? Do we desire God’s power because we want that power associated with our own name?
In the end, there is only one Name that should be exalted – and God has shown that He shares His power with those who want nothing but to glorify His Name through acts of unbridled service.
Prayer Focus: God, reveal my heart… let me see anything in me that doesn’t reflect the servant Heart of Jesus — so that I may serve others in your compassion and love.