Our sovereign God reigns in the heavens and will one day reign here on earth. Every knee shall bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and the whole world shall be filled with the glory of God! What a Day that will be (Psa. 96, 97:1, 98:1)!
These have been momentous days in the world—all in preparation for God to fully restore what He began in Creation. The coming of the Lord draws near! I believe we are in the “season” … the “signs of the times”. Though we do not know the “day nor the hour”, yet “when you see these signs all taken together, coming to pass, you may know of a surety that He (the Son of Man) is near, at the very doors” (Matt. 24:33,36; Mark 13:28-33; Matt. 16:1,2).
While we are looking up with readiness and spiritual vigilance, we are also to look out. We are not pessimistic when God is in control, although it may seem the world is spinning out of control. It has happened before. Until the Lord comes, we are to serve Him in love, faith, humility, and obedience (Hab. 2:14; Rev. 11:15, 15:4).
An issue that has also been on my mind is Christ-like leadership—servanthood. There are no “bosses” or “staff” in the Kingdom of God. There is nothing wrong with these terms or their use in the Church. But when these designations are used in the hierarchy of the Church with the devastating inference of superior and inferior positions, then the spirit of the words cannot be Biblically justified (Matt. 23:8,10).
Do we have an “upper management” who are considered “superior”, with “workers” who occupy a lower position and feel inferior? Those who possess this mentality often lead by title only; they are the “boss” and those working for them are “staff”—a relationship defined by position, rank, power, intimidation, fear, etc. Those who have “dominion” command authority by enforcing “rules” and “standards” without recognizing those they lead. Jealousy and “bitter envying and strife” often result when there is a striving to go up the “ladder of success” (James 3:13-18).
James and John wanted a title. They desired superior places (strove for “top” positions) over the other disciples—a promotion, if you will, to “sit, one on your right and the other on your left hand” in Christ’s Kingdom! Quite a “desire” … and they used their mother as the intermediary (Matt. 20:21).
Some of us have become organizational without the personal passion of the Lord Who gives us such a “position”. We are administrative without compassion, strong without humility. We often have led with the force and capability of our gifts—our personal strength, personality, titles, appointments, and positions—so that we have lost the reality of vulnerability. We think that being on the top of the pyramid is our God-given right, with the underlings to serve the structure. We forget that the structure was designed for leading by serving (II Cor. 10:18).
Jesus’ teaching is the very opposite. His leadership was as a chief Servant. He placed Himself under those He served (Matt. 20:25-28). His authority was in the strength of His serving, not in the strength of His divinity (John 13). He led with the TOWEL.
Those who lead with the TOWEL are those who may or may not have a “title”. Jesus had the title as the “Son of God”, “the Christ”, etc., but He laid aside His garments and washed the feet of the disciples. Now that is staggering, especially when you realize that He never ceased to be Who He was!
That is so often the challenge. We fear that in taking the position of a servant, we lose our “identity”, our “position”, our “title”—when in fact we gain heaven’s approval (though sometimes, not man’s!). That is why Jesus will be exalted as the “greatest”: because He served the world, while we can only serve a very small portion of it, in a small circle, in comparison to the world (Mark 9:35, 10:35-45)!
It is Christ-like, then, to serve not by title only, but by towel; this is true servanthood (John 13:1-17). The reward goes to the “servant” who is “good and faithful”—it has nothing to do with “gifts”, “callings”, etc. Jesus did not say that rewards go to the “apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, or teacher”. Otherwise, most of us would get no reward at all, because we do not fit into these categories. But, we all can be “good and faithful servants”!
Those with the “gifts” but without the servant spirit will not be rewarded to the maximum. I am not sure how the Lord will reward those who have “done the ministry” without being a servant! I am going to let Him handle that one!
Servant leadership seeks the highest good of those we serve, that we being “free from all men” in our places of service (I Cor. 7:22, 9:19) are free to love one another and serve one another (Gal. 5:13), fully recognizing and submitting to God-given authority. As a ruler we are over others, while as a servant we are among those we lead—”submitting ourselves to one another in the fear of God” (Eph. 5:20).
Thank you again! Your kindness, love, support, prayers, and encouragement are deeply appreciated! Know that you are in our hearts and prayers also.
Under the Chief Shepherd and Servant with joy,
Reuben & Carmen Sequeira
Matt. 20:27, 23:11
I Pet. 5:1-7