Leading from the Rear

Mark 10:35-45

Jesus Teaches about Serving Others

35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came over and spoke to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do us a favor.”

36 “What is your request?” he asked.

37 They replied, “When you sit on your glorious throne, we want to sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.”

38 But Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink? Are you able to be baptized with the baptism of suffering I must be baptized with?”

39 “Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!”

Then Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup and be baptized with my baptism of suffering. 40 But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. God has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.”

41 When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. 42 So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.43 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

HOW THE WORLD DOES IT (v. 42)

The rulers of this world lord it over people and abuse their position. They take advantage of others. They use their positions to their own advantage.

There are many different forms of leadership. The first level (according to John Maxwell) is also the least effective level. This level is called, positional leadership. This level is where we follow people only because of their position. People tend to be at this level because their followers are worried about what might happen if they do not follow them. Fear can motivate but it is not the best motivator and it is certainly not a long-lasting one.

We cannot be an effective leader by poking and prodding. We are called to be shepherds, not cowboys (Lynn Anderson, They Smell Like Sheep). Shepherds guide their flocks. Cowboys drive the herd. The world and the rulers of this world are not what we need.

HOW WE SHOULD DO IT (v. 43)

For us to lead, we must be willing to follow. The problem with leadership is that people have the impression that leaders/guides have all of the answers. They assume that the leaders is the only one with an opinion, and if there are other opinions, the leader’s is the only one that is right. We should be different. We can guide others because we “follow Him.” Jesus uses a great literary device. If you want to be great, then you must be a servant. If you want to be first, then you must be last. If you want to be on top, then you must be on the bottom.

HOW JESUS DID IT (v. 45)

Jesus did not come to be served, but to be a servant to OTHERS.

You can sum up the life of Jesus, and incidentally The Salvation Army, with that one word, OTHERS!

One of the best passage of scripture that highlights this characteristic of Christ is found in Philippians 2:6-8.

6 Though he was God,[a]
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges[b];
he took the humble position of a slave[c]
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,[d]
8 he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

The New Living Translation says that “He gave up His divine privilege.” He became nothing. He even died for us.

CONCLUSION

The phrase, servant leadership, is used a lot lately in the church and in business. Most people have a tendency to focus on the leadership part more than the servant part. For us to truly lead like Jesus, we must begin as servants. Then we begin to lead. Not the other way around!

It’s a Prayer-ful Life!

Ephesians 6:18-20

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be

given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

  1. We should pray at all times, good or bad, thick or thin.
  2. We should pray for others and ourselves. We should ask for prayer.
  3. We should pray as God’s ambassadors to this world.

We should pray at all times, good or bad, thick or thin.

  • Whether things are going well or not so well, we should be bringing our prayers to God.
  • As humans, we have a tendency to only come to God when we need something. Or, we only thank God when we were getting what we want. No matter what we are going through, we should be talking to our Father.

We should pray for others and ourselves. We should ask for prayer.

  • Paul asks with a great sense of self and of longing for his audience to pray for him.
  • When did it become a sign of weakness to ask for prayer?
  • We should be committed to pray for each other.
  • Reading is the way you get through the Bible; prayer is the way you get the Bible through you.—Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker

We should pray as God’s ambassadors to this world.

  • Prayer gives us the strength, the vision, the message to share with others.
  • Prayer is our power source. When setting goals, we should start and end with prayer.
  • Paul is in prison yet still presents the World boldly. He has good prayer support.

Encouragement Through Discipline (New Year’s Resolutions)

Hebrews 12:4-13 

4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a]

7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,”[b] so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

Children need guidance (12:7-9)

The point of parenting is to teach our children how to make the best choices. Children need rules. They need limitations. They need boundaries. We love our children by not allowing them to hurt themselves. Verse 8 says that we are not legitimate if we have not undergone discipline. Verse 9 says that we learn to respect from discipline.

We need guidance (12:10-11)

We receive discipline and guidance because it is leading us to what is good.  We will receive a share in his holiness. Discipline is never meant to be easy or pleasant. The short term is not the goal. We are in this for the long haul. Verse 11 tells us that we can know righteousness and peace because we have been trained for it.

We become good examples for others (12:12-13)

We are being trained for a purpose. We should “strengthen” our arms and knees to support others. When you lift something up, you use your arms and knees. As we are lifted up, we should lift up others! We undergo training and discipline to strengthen us to be strong for others!

Graphic from the Ministry Toolkit and Lindsey Fleeman