Authority versus servanthood

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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 22:27 (NIV))

Have you ever thought about this passage?

I honestly think that this may be one of the biggest reasons why people refuse to acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is human nature to expect someone in authority to be served. You don’t expect someone in authority to be serving.

If you went to a store and had a problem with the service, you would probably ask to see the manager. How would you react if the person you were introduced to was on his or her hands and knees scrubbing the floor? How would you react if their clothes were coveralls instead of professional attire?

Now, carefully consider the idea of following someone who people say is God’s Son and has all authority in heaven and on earth, and then they tell you He came and was poor, beaten, mocked and killed, how would you react?

It goes against everything that conventional wisdom tells us to be true.

Could it be that in order to understand Luke 22:27, you must understand that authority is not what we understand it to be? When we think of authority, we think of the master. We don’t think of the servant. Think about the store manager scenario once again. How do you think that person became the store manager? In many instances, it is by doing what they knew needed to be done, and then being recognized for that knowledge, that initiative. They know every job within their store and are not ashamed to do the dirty work if it will help.

God sent Jesus, His only begotten Son, to do just that. Jesus knew everything that there is to know about this world, so, in a superb plan to make things right, He willingly came to this earth to do the dirty work. He came willingly to do the job that no one else knew how to do. He came to do the job that only He could do, even though He had all authority over all creation. He simply accessed the situation and willingly did as His Father determined. He was not afraid to get His hands dirty, for He loves the business of His Father. He loves us!

Being a servant does not mean that you have a place of no authority. It simply means that you recognize the need to do something and that you are not afraid to do it yourself.

I have heard many people say that a good manager will not ask his employees to do something that he is not willing to do himself. Even though the authority may be there to simply dictate that it be done, sometimes it requires the personal touch by someone who wants to make sure it is done according to higher standards.

What is your perspective on authority?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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