“Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave’” (Matthew 20: 25-27).

Christ’s disciples must not be like the Gentiles, nor like the princes of the Gentiles. If they are powerful enough, high officials exercise their dominion and authority over their subjects and over one another. These are what they pursue and pride themselves in, and the more they possess the more they want. To the disciples of Jesus, the order is simply: “Not so with you.” You are to teach the subjects of this kingdom, instruct and beseech them, counsel and comfort them, weep with them and suffer with them, but do not exercise dominion or authority over them. This forbids not only tyranny and abuse of power but also the claim or use of any secular authority as the princes of the Gentiles lawfully exercise. So hard it is for vain men, even good men, to have such authority and not to be puffed up with it. The apostle Paul himself disowns dominion over the faith of any man (2 Corinthians 1:24).

Rather, it is the duty of Christ’s disciples to serve one another for mutual edification. This includes both humility and usefulness. The followers of Jesus must be ready to stoop to any position of love for the good of one another; they must submit to one another and edify one another and please one another for good. The way to be great and first in the kingdom of Christ is to be humble and serviceable. Those who are to be the highest esteemed in the church are the ones who fit this description, not those who hold grand titles and expect a power proportional to their office. The great apostle himself made himself everyone’s servant (1 Corinthians 9:19). And shall we do less? These honor God most, and these He will honor.

Adapted from In His Presence