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The Pyramid and the Kingdom of God

16 Jun
from Google Images

from Google Images

One of the most astonishing commands Jesus made to his disciples is: “whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister!” (Matthew 20:26).[1] No matter where one goes in the world one will meet with the power of authority from the top downward. It is often referred to as the power pyramid. Those who serve do so toward the top. The most powerful of all is the supreme authority, and he serves no one but his own interests. Everyone else serves his immediate authority, and on it goes to the very bottom, and they serve everyone else. Yet, Jesus says that this shall not be among his people. The greatest among his people should be found seeking to equip others for their own ministry, spending their energy to effect Christian unity in both faith and doctrine (Ephesians 4:11-16).

Perhaps this sounds like a ‘pie-in-the-sky’ type of organization, but no matter where one goes, one will find followers will be a lot like the one they serve, for better or for worse. If one leads by the power of authority, he must always be alert for a follower or two to cause a coup, whereby the successful new leader will be regarded as the supreme authority. In order for people to voluntarily serve without compulsion the leader must voluntarily serve others. For better or worse, his followers will become like him, whether with an appetite for power, always seeking to enlarge their position, or with an appetite for serving others—helping them meet their goals in the Gospel. A willing servant is a volunteer. A supreme authority wants others to volunteer. A volunteer who serves the community wants to help the community’s labor to work or reach its goal, but a supreme authority wants others to help him achieve his own goal.

One could search the whole of the Gospel narratives, but he would never find Jesus chastising the masses. Not once does he tell them they must submit to him. Rather, his strongest words are directed towards the chief priests and the Pharisaical leadership. Jesus was always moved with compassion toward the people (Matthew 9:36; 14:14; 15:32). Notice that it was Jesus, not the masses, who was moved. He felt the inward pressure to serve, but they, at least at that particular time, felt no compulsion to follow—i.e. believe Jesus. He wasn’t any more than a curiosity for them—at that time. Nevertheless, Jesus continued to serve them and to teach them, never once being received as Messiah by the masses or taken seriously by the leaders of the nation. Rather, in the end, the leaders got rid of Jesus because they feared he would take away their position of authority, and the masses got rid of him in favor of a known revolutionary who served their own goals better than they presumed Jesus would.

“Who’s in charge?” one may ask, if the leaders serve. How is policy made? How are goals set? In reply I could say: “What does the Bible say?” Jesus gave us our goal in Matthew 28:19-20 to speak of him and the good news of the Kingdom of God to others, all over the world. He told us to teach others what Jesus told us in the Gospel narratives. Paul did this, so we have his example of how this goal can be reached. What is our policy? Our policy is to love one another as Jesus loved us (John 13:34). “What kind of policy is that?” one may ask. How could one achieve a worldwide work having only the policy to love others? Paul tells us how this can be done in 1Corinthians 13:1-13.

If I have a golden tongue but I do not do as my own words say, then all I’ve done is create a useless noise. If my faith and knowledge is the greatest on earth, but lack love, my notoriety will fail; it will be a useless tool. Even if I spend all my energy in the greatest humanitarian goals, if I lack love, all I’ll ever be is a flash in the pan. Love is patient with error and unbelief; it is kind toward others under all conditions; it is never jealous of the success of others, nor will it parade itself in competition for a better name. It simply is not hypocritical in any way.

Those who preach the way of Christ are never rude, resentful of others’ offenses or irritated by their questions whether sincere or not. Those who practice the policy of love are simply not ungracious or egotistical. If one is practicing the policy of love, one will refuse to take joy in another’s calamity (even that of an enemy), but will rejoice when others are blessed. The Jesus Style always looks for the best in people, hopes for the best in them, is slow to expose their sins, and never fails in the face of adversity.

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[1] As I said HERE, this current theme about the person of Jesus is based upon the book: The Jesus Style by Gayle Erwin. They are my thoughts about his book. He may or may not agree with the impression his book has made upon me, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading what Gayle wrote and recommend his book to anyone who is looking for a good read about Jesus.

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Posted by on June 16, 2015 in Kingdom of God

 

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