Sitting Beside The Boss Looks Like You Have Some Of His Authority
Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan, says, “Power attracts people who like to run things and be bossy.” My old neighbor contends that some people will never be satisfied unless they are seen and heard. Who the leader is and those who are leading with him will always bring positive and negative reactions.
Some folks do like to be in positions of authority, while others would rather let someone else lead. Many would rather criticize their leader than lead themselves and be criticized. When you are not in leadership positions, it is effortless to feel those leading should accomplish the impossible. Achieving the impossible is only a problem if you need to do it.
Ed believes a pastor or a clergy person has the power and authority in a church. I told him that is because he does not attend a church. I informed Ed that God and His word should be the final authority in a church, but it is impossible to get people to let God be God. Instead of listening to and following God’s word, folks may ignore it, argue with it, and challenge God’s word.
In the Bible two of Jesus’ disciples, James and John, came up to Jesus and tried to get Jesus to say that he would give them what they were going to ask of Jesus. Jesus did not promise to give them what they asked but told them to tell him what they wanted. They wanted to sit with him in his glory, one on his right and one on his left. They seem to be thinking regarding earthly glory. Jesus would be sitting in leadership at Jerusalem with earthly power and authority. They wanted to be Jesus’ advisors, those closest to him as the ruler in Jerusalem.
James and John had an understanding that being a ruler or leader meant Lording it over people. Like the Gentiles, they believed leaders should exercise authority over other people like a boss. Leaders should give orders not take them. They felt leaders should be served not serve. Jesus told James and John that he could not promise they could sit beside him. God the Father would decide who would sit next to him in glory.
The other disciples were indignant that James and John would ask for a special privilege with Jesus beyond themselves. Jesus used it as an opportunity to teach them that He was not on earth to boss people around but give his life as a ransom for sinners. Jesus was on earth to serve not to be served. Jesus was an authority figure from God who was called by God his Father, to act in His authority of love.
God’s way of doing things is never about an arrogant or self-serving power. Jesus invited his disciples to learn of leading by serving, by wanting to be last not first. His disciples would be given the opportunity to do what was best for others not what was best for themselves. Most do not like the idea of being a servant. Many want to lead, but few want to follow. Who will serve God by obeying His word and example in Christ?