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!