Who’s the greatest?

In recent times we have again witnessed the change of leadership in our parliament, away from an election. People with ambition to lead and give direction to our social and economic policies are often found jockeying for position in the halls of power. I have friends who believe that God has called them into politics – because it is one of the areas of society where Christians should be exercising leadership – rather than leave it to others. The difference is that no matter what our political persuasion, those of us who are motivated by the example of Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives should not be a slave to the ways that things are done in the world.

In our society people rise to positions of influence most often through their education; their natural gifts; their appearance; their social and economic capacity; or their desire to impact their community with dreams and ideas that are deeply rooted in their world view. Leadership in secular society is often seen as power that is exercised over others from a position or the influence that people have over others.

Although Jesus was the creator and king of the universe, equal in respects to God – Philippians 2 says that he humbled himself and became a man – a no body – and became the very nature of a servant. Then in obedience to God’s rescue mission he took on the ultimate humiliation on the cross so that we could be restored to a full relationship with God. Christ’s servant example is a challenge to us all. We call Jesus Lord and master – yet we don’t often follow through with the consequences of that statement. Jesus told his disciples that to be great in God’s eyes is to be the least in the world. To take leadership is to exercise humility with a servant heart. So just as the Father exalted Jesus for his obedience – so it is up to God to raise up those whose hearts are humble and motives are pure.

It’s easy to be tempted to see ourselves as having sufficient knowledge to do things ourselves. Yet we are constantly reminded to not be wise in your own eyes – fear the Lord and turn from evil (Proverbs 3:7-8). In Mark 9:30-37 and again later in Mark 10: 35-45 Jesus is constantly challenging the disciples to stop pushing their own agenda – rooted in self-ambition – but rather have the attitude of a child. We may not have the biggest church or the most exciting worship – or the most programs – but that doesn’t count much to God. What really counts is that we have a heart sold out to Jesus; that we humble ourselves before God and have attitude of a servant. That’s what God thinks is really great!

God bless,

Tim Winslade

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In His Steps

Do you remember the time and place where you encountered Jesus for the first time? I was a preacher’s kid and I literally grew up around churches – I was told when I was a young child I used to be such a Daddy’s boy that when my Dad got up to preach I would run down the aisle, only to be intercepted by the equivalent of the chairman of the Church Council in the front pew – where I would sit for the remainder of the service.

I don’t really have recollections of church until I was about 5 – when my father was a student minister at Newtown Mission in Sydney…but from that time on I can remember significant times, places and people who were instrumental in my journey in following Jesus’ steps. Once such event happened when I was about 10, when my father was in the Orange Methodist Circuit – when one Sunday night we had a visiting evangelist come and preach…the church was packed and I still remember him giving a challenge to follow Jesus and invited people to come forward during the singing of “Just as I am.”

I remember shuffling down the front and having the preacher ask me ‘why I had come forward?’ I was so nervous I couldn’t say anything…but when he asked me if I wanted to have Jesus in my life, I said ‘yes’. How happy I was that night that I had made a commitment to follow Jesus. How much work had been done prior to that night to lay a foundation? From an early age my parents had laid a foundation for loving God and for living out the Bible…many people had helped me along my way- but when I made a public stand for Jesus – something solidified in by belief.

Now, as a child I understood enough of this to say yes to Jesus.

I understood something of God’s love…

I understood that he cared for me, not matter how big or small I was…

I understood that I was small – and that I needed God’s help to deal with my problems…

I knew that I needed to say sorry…and to ask for Jesus to help me – invite him to begin to make some changes…

We may belittle such a childlike response to the gospel – but the fact is Jesus doesn’t care how much we know; how much we have; how important we may be in the eyes of others…he only cares that we follow the example of the little children and come to him with an open and trusting heart and a willingness to respond to his love and his great gift…

It’s not childish to have faith – it’s childlike. It’s not foolish to take Jesus at his word…it’s wise. God does have a wonderful plan for all of our lives…and no matter what twists and turns await we are assured that we are not alone on this journey. So let never tire of following Jesus!