Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. (Luke 22:25-27)
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the term “essential worker” has entered our collective lexicon and is unlikely to leave anytime soon. Who will be deemed the most essential workers in the Kingdom? Who will hold the positions of highest rank, authority, and honor as we work to serve our King and his Kingdom?
Last week, we looked at one answer to this question: those who are obedient to the Lord’s commands. Today, we look at a second answer: those who take on the posture of servants.
As I’ve written about before, in Matthew 20, James and John approach Jesus requesting the highest positions in the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus doesn’t rebuke them for their desire to be great. But he does radically redefine what greatness is saying, “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28).
I’m a massive fan of the musical, Hamilton. In the show, there’s a terrific song titled Your Obedient Servant in which Alexander Hamilton and his frenemy, Aaron Burr, exchange a series of letters, each one including the salutation, “I have the honor to be your obedient servant.”
Scripture tells us that we will all work in the Kingdom of Heaven, but we will not all share equal jobs, rank, and authority. Who will be the greatest? Obedient servants. Let that truth motivate us all to be of greater service through our work today.
If you’re an entrepreneur, serving might look like being more ambitious for growth, not to serve your bank account, but to provide a living wage for more employees and serve more customers.
If you’re a manager, serving might look like delegating more effectively, allowing others with different skill sets to thrive.
If you’re an employee, freelancer, or “gig worker,” serve with the heart of Christ, eager to do good works for others.
The world’s definition of “essential worker” will continue to change. But if we are obedient to God’s Word and focused on serving others through the ministry of excellence, we will be blessed with positions of greatness that will never fade away.