What makes a great leader? How does one become a great leader? In this post, I hope to help understand the difference and necessities of being a leader, versus how leaders in the world have always been, from Mark 10:32-45.
This moment of conflict in Mark 10:32-45 was just another of the many, among the 12:
Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, went to Jesus to ask for glory and power such as His. This is sort of like asking a king to be his top generals and officials, for to be seated at a king’s right-hand side was the place of honor, implying prestige, power, and authority. The left-handed side was reserved for the second highest in terms of importance.
It’s possible they figured to ask this, thinking they deserved higher status than the others, since they (with Simon) were often the only ones chosen to follow Jesus and witness sights even others couldn’t, such as the transfiguration and bringing Jarius’ daughter back to life. Either way, they thought they were special, and so conspired for a special ranking.
So obviously, the 10 others were pretty ticked, for:
A) They were trying to woo their ways above them
B) They were sneaky about it
C) Definitely damaged trust among them
D) To raise themselves up higher was to lower the others below them.
In other words, conflict, pride, and betrayal.
But Jesus responded back in 3 ways:
- He acknowledged their request (Y’all indeed will suffer and be killed, yet share in eternal life)
- He took Himself out of the decision-making position
- And He gave a baseline of how one is to become great…
God’s ways are not the world’s ways:
The World’s leaders rise up and lord their positions over others, demanding honor. But leaders in God’s Kingdom become such from their service to others:
- Serve others and represent God, and others will raise you up in greatness and give you honor.
- Humility and focus on God
- Remember, keep your hearts pure
So now, if they want to be greater than others in the group, they must serve them.
Remember this, for this is HUGE! Leaders in God’s Kingdom get their titles from their service, not service from their titles – totally backwards to the ways of the world. Although it’s also sort of a catch 22, for if you’re serving in order to be great, then your heart isn’t on the right focus (it’s on power and authority), which actually trumps your chances in the Kingdom of God. Your focus must be on the concern of others, not on yourself. For only then, will you be considered great in the Kingdom of God.
- Describe the qualifications of a leader. Who usually becomes a leader of a company, and how do they usually get there?
- Jesus said that in order to be a leader in the Kingdom of God, one must be a servant to others. Pretty backwards, huh? What are some other things/standards Jesus has said that would be seen as backwards to the way we do things in the world? What do these tell us about the ways of God versus the ways of the world?
- How would you describe a leader who becomes such by serving others? Can you give some examples of people (past or present) who fit this role? What can you do this week to serve others?