One day, an argument broke out between Jesus’ disciples as to who would be the greatest among them. William Barclay highlights the three wrong motives in their argument: 1) the desire for prestige, 2) the desire for place, and 3) the desire for prominence. Many people happily serve on a team as long as they can come out the winner. Only when prestige, place, and prominence are possible prizes, they remain dedicated and enthusiastic team members.

Knowing the thoughts of his team, Jesus set a new precedent: “He who is least among you all is the one who is great” (Luke 9:48). This is a worthwhile motto and good foundation for any group working together. It encourages servant leadership and shows that this kind of leadership (without regard for personal gain), in itself, is good and worthwhile.

Nearly two thousand years have come and gone since the ultimate team leader has walked this earth and formed a team that later became one of history’s most influential. He demonstrated a team leader is not only in-charge of arranging meetings, overseeing assignments, and evaluating his group’s work. He has the greater responsibility of encouraging, serving, and forgiving.

Serving others, however, is not an end in itself. It testifies to the very grace and love of God. It is a response to the great commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” second only to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30-31). We are able to lead lives of service because God gives us the grace and love to do so. His invitation to trust deeply and abandon ourselves to his cause of love means no matter our position of leadership, we are never above doing the humble work.

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