Great Verses of The Bible:Mark 10:43-44

During the American Revolution, a man in civilian clothes rode past a group of soldiers repairing a small defensive barrier. Their leader was shouting instructions, but making no attempt to help them.

Asked why by the rider, he retorted with great dignity, “Sir, I am a corporal!” The stranger apologized, dismounted, and proceeded to help the exhausted soldiers.

When the job was finished, the man turned to the corporal and said, “Mr. Corporal, next time you have a job like this and not enough men to do it, go to your commander-in-chief, and I will come and help you again.” It was none other than George Washington.

In one of the great texts of the Bible, Jesus the greatest leader ever reminds us of the principle practiced by Washington.

“But whoever desires to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever desires to be first among you must be the slave of all.” (Mk. 10:43-44).

Sadly too many people in the world are like the Corporal. They are filled with pomposity because of their rank, title or position. They are giving orders. Barking instructions. But refusing to roll up their sleeves, dirty their hands and help with the work.

Christians and church leaders are not immune to this problem. In fact, in our text James and John had shown this disposition in a request to Jesus. “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory” (Mk. 10:37).

The request displeased the other ten disciples. No doubt their quest seemed selfish to their peers. But apparently, James and John weren’t the only ones enamored with greatness. Earlier after Jesus had predicted his death and while they were traveling to Capernaum, all the disciples had “disputed among themselves who would be the greatest” (9:30-37).

On that occasion, when they arrived Jesus asked, “What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road.”

Apparently, they were embarrassed to admit it. The Scripture says they didn’t answer Jesus. In response, Jesus “sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”

Then to illustrate his point of being humble, unassuming and void of any pretense, prestige or worldly ambition, he took a little child in his arms and said, “Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.”

The world considers rulers with the power to command others, issue edicts and exercise authority as great. But the road to true greatness in the eyes of the Lord is found in service. Of meeting the needs of others. And being willing to minister whenever and wherever duty calls.

Preachers in the Lord’s church need to remember they are servants. One of my Bible teachers at Florida College whom we considered “great” often reminded us, “Boys, I’m just a student. I’m still learning.” His humility and dedication to careful scriptural exegesis was a wonderful example to those of us desired to preach the gospel. As my friend Dee Bowman often says, “There are no big preachers. And no little preachers. Just preachers.”

Elders should desire to be Shepherds because they want to serve. Not to wear a title. Or hold an office. Or exercise a position of lordship over the church. I once heard an elder who was sincerely questioned by a member about a decision arrogantly respond, “That’s the way it’s going to be because I’m an elder.” Sadly, such a man has no concept of servant-leadership.

John Maxwell defines leadership as influence. A true leader has followers because of his personhood, not his position. The axiom is true, “if a man thinks he’s a leader and has no followers, he’s only taking a walk.” Furthermore, when a leader has to “pull rank” to justify his decisions, he’s lost all credibility with his people.

The Rotarian mottos, “He profits most who serves best.” And “service above self” ought to be the desire of every preacher, pastor, and Christian who desires to be great in the sight of the Lord.”

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


Filed under Great Bible Verses

7 responses to “Great Verses of The Bible:Mark 10:43-44

  1. Wow! Great story about George Washington. Love it and what a great illustration of being a servant. Jesus calls us all to be servants, not servant-leaders.

    Be blessed. God is great and is doing mighty works through you.

  2. Sharon Ayres

    Love the points you made about selflessness that apply to all. Great illustration with George Washington. May I humbly point out a typo? The Rotary club motto is “service above self,” which is the point well taken in your blog post. Thank you for your well written posts. I use them often in my Bible classes.

    • Thanks, Sharon. I appreciate your kind words. Yes, you may always let me know of any errors in my post. Although my wife proofs them, mistakes creep in. And that one is particularly embarrassing since I’m a Rotarian! But I got it corrected for future readers. Thanks!

  3. Wendell Ward

    Thanks brother Ken
    An edifying writing with good points. Humility plus servitude does indeed make for good leadership.

  4. James Love

    Enjoyed your article, I’ve served in the USAF for over 28 years now and thanks to my experiences/mentors have come to understand value of servant leadership. In this world you can either lead people of drive people. Most organizations do not survive long by driving their people. One principle I have learned is that with high demands come high rewards. A leader must maintain the morale and welfare of their subordinates. For the betterment of the organization.

    I always tell my subordinates that leadership is a demanding job, because you work for everyone. That my job as their leader was to take care of them and give them the resources to be successful. Therefore, I was not their boss, but their servant. I just got paid a little more than they did. 😉

    I believe the same attitude needs to be exhibited by leaders in the church. To be in the position of leadership is not just so you can tell other what to do. Your there to observe them and to provide them the tools to be successful. It is though their success that you become successful. Their failures are your failures.

    To be the ultimate leader…is to be the ultimate servant.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject.

  5. Chuck Richardson

    I too love the story about George Washington. Servitude is difficult to execute even when we are not leaders. Thanks for the article.

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