Inspired by Matthew 20:20-28
“But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.’” Matthew 20:25-28 (NRSV)
In this life, it is difficult to achieve power or influence. Most people choose their own sources of authority and disregard anything that doesn’t meet their preference, regardless of how worthy a source may be. Christians are often met by people who refuse to accept the authority of the bible and don’t believe in God, and we find our arguments and our influence disregarded by those we are trying to persuade and rejected by those we are trying to help.
But Christ did not come to make an argument. The Son of God did not come to assert his power and authority over the unbelievers of first century Palestine. Jesus came to serve, and he taught his disciples to serve, and service is the legacy we have inherited.
Part of the reason why so many people refuse to hear about the authority of God is because Christianity has a history of tyranny and abuse of power. Over the ages many of our brothers and sisters have bludgeoned their neighbors with the word of God and condemned many in the name of the living Christ. Worship compelled by fear is no worship, and faith extorted by threats is no faith.
But despite the absence of recognized authority in our proclamations of faith, we are still called to witness. People are on guard against those who would tell them what to do and take a position over them, but they are more willing to allow someone to serve them and take a position beneath them. Don’t try to convince people of God’s love with your words; show them God’s love with your actions.
Let us pray. God of love, you humbled yourself to achieve our salvation. Enable us to humble ourselves, that we may proclaim your grace with our lives. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.