'Gosh, it's been a long week already, and it's only Monday.' Serving others can feel this way to us sometimes. We can get tired. Whether it is serving within our families, serving at our jobs, in our community, at our church or in another ministry. Serving well is good for our souls. Serving tired, well that can be draining. We can lose sight of our good intentions and easily fall into the trap of tyranny.
The misuse of power moves in on us, little by little, until we believe that we have the right to have someone serve us. Not just instead of us, but for us. Tyranny can take many forms, but they all end up revealing themselves as abuse of power. Abuse of power is the abuse of another persons sincere desire to serve. When we misuse our authority we can end up losing our ability to lead, we can end up squashing innovation and eventually lose our own perspective about the reasons that brought into a position of power in the first place.
Tyranny can begin with a single act, a single misuse of power. Instead of serving, because we are tired or because we are thinking too highly of ourselves, we decide to send someone else. We choose to have someone serve us by serving for us. We tell ourselves that 'I have more important things to do' or 'I'm in a leadership role now, I don't have to do that anymore'. 'That's beneath me' is not an option for a servant.
Jesus tells us here in this passage, that He is calling us to something better. He is calling us to serve; not in order to gain power or status, not because we feel a sense of duty, or even because we are indebted to Him. We serve because He did. Jesus is our example. Our ultimate mentor. As Jesus ministered, He taught others how to minister. As Jesus served others, He taught others how to serve. Jesus served others in the most unlikely circumstances and His authority flourished in those moments. He taught us to love one another and care for each other well. No more and no less. He calls on us to give ourselves away, not at our own expense, but as an offering. Remembering to rest and take time away are essential tools to a well tuned soul.
Jesus shows us, by example, how to minister and serve others well, while still maintaining our own strength and purpose.
Serving calls for us to be authentic, to be observant and to be diligent. Watch out for missteps and misuse as your authority increases. Don't overdo. When you're tired, rest. When you're overwhelmed, get help. When you're faced with a difficult situation, ask questions, seek advice and counsel. Tyrants don't just happen. As authority grows, tyranny can begin with a tired persons simple request and grow into entitlement and expectations.
When you're faced with the questionable expectations of a tyrant, make sure you're not looking in a mirror. As you progress and your authority increases, be attentive to yourself. Be alert that your head doesn't begin to increase too.
Big heads get us into trouble and lead us into tyranny. Big hearts, however, lead us down the path of righteousness.
Mark 10:42-45 Voice
"But Jesus stopped them. "You know that among the nations of the world the great ones lord it over the little people and act like tyrants. But that is not the way it will be among you. Whoever would be great among you must serve and minister. Whoever wants to be great among you must be slave of all. Even the Son of Man came not to be served but to be a servant—to offer His life as a ransom for others."