"Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves." -Luke 22:25-27
It is difficult to maintain a servant mentality these days. More and more people talk about our rights and the need to not allow others to step all over us and there is nothing wrong with that. However, there is also another side. The side of becoming a servant like which should be an integral part of our Christian character. Notice that Jesus did not state that we should not be leaders and instead be passive. He said that the “oldest” should be like the “youngest’” which refers to humbleness. He goes on to state that the one who rules should be like the one who serves meaning that it is right and necessary to be a leader. So then to what is Jesus referring to? Is he giving a theory that has no basis in real life experiences?
Jesus encourages us to be leaders but at the same time servants. It is paradoxical but true. In verse 25, Jesus states that in the world, leaders are applauded. However, in the way that Jesus is teaching us to think, becoming a leader is not the greatest goal that a person can achieve. The greatest goal a person can achieve is becoming a servant. This is not in the sense of slavery, but rather in the sense of putting others needs above our own. We should be completely humble only boasting in the Lord (2 Cor. 10-11).
But how can we achieve this? Well, to be practical, let’s describe some qualities of a servant. Servants do what their masters ask of them. Therefore, this means that we are called to serve those who are sinners, those whom we are not particularly fond of, our enemies, and truthfully everyone. Jesus himself commands us to do this in Luke 10:27-35 and Matthew 5. A servant does not complain but rather works quietly. A servant in not aggressive but seeks the good of those they serve above their own well-being. A good servant is kind to all, even with those that do not deserve kindness. Thus, it is evident that we should be leaders for the kingdom but with the mentality of a good servant.
Why should we do this? We should because Jesus commands us to. He gave the commandment hours before dying on the cross for you and me. The omnipotent God of the universe left His glory to serve us (Philippians 2) and He is still serving us through the Holy Spirit who ministers to us daily.
Jesus never gets tired of serving. After dying on the cross to save us from eternal death, He still is interceding for us (1 John 2). What an amazing love! In the same way that Jesus did, we should start acting as servants treating others better than ourselves and putting their needs above ours (Philippians 2:3). This is not naturally easy but can happen with the help of the Holy Spirit. We should pray every day so that God will help us serve others in the way He wants us to In doing this, we will really be able to imitate the true love of Jesus like never before.