Not So Among You

In Mark 10:43 Jesus said: “But it is not so among you.”  He spoke these words to His disciples in response to James & John’s ambitious request to be seated at His left and right in His kingdom — and the indignation of the other 10 at the pair’s request.  He told them all that things were different in His kingdom than they are in the world.  His leaders would be servants.  As for worldly-type ambitions, He said to them: “It is not so among you.” 

Although this was spoken in response to a specific scenario, this concept is at the heart of a multitude of issues that we face as Christians.  This world order will do things one way, but we are not to be like the world:  “It is not so among you.” 

Unfortunately, if the truth be known, most of us in the church have not really appropriated this principle.  We generally just import the world’s standards into the church wholesale.  We adopt the best business expertise of the world, the world’s management principles, financial strategies, personnel policies, the world’s planning and strategy and advertisement and purpose statements, the world’s attitudes, the world’s goals … the list could go on and on. 

— We place people from businesses’ personnel departments on our church personnel committees, and forget that the church is not a business!

— we put bankers on our finance committees and forget that the church is not a bank, and is not to be run like one – “it is not so among you.” 

— we treat our pastors like CEO’s, and forget that Jesus said they are to be servant leaders, who lead by example, not demand.   This was the original context of this saying: “It is not so among you.”

— we make the goals of our churches the building of buildings and achieving worldly standards of “success”, forgetting that our goals are different than what a worldly organization’s are; our success is not measured by glass and stone and impressive buildings, but by the hearts of our people, and our obedience to God!

I am afraid that we have totally missed Jesus’ point when He said, “My kingdom is not of this world” and “IT IS NOT SO AMONG YOU”!  Those of us in the church need to stop saying, “This is how it is done in the world.”  How far off track we have gotten!  We are not to pride ourselves on how like the world we have become; we are supposed to be different!   “It is not so among you”!

About Shawn Thomas

My blog, shawnethomas.com, provides brief devotions from own personal daily Bible reading, as well as some of my sermons, book reviews, and family life experiences.
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2 Responses to Not So Among You

  1. oloryn says:

    I’m afraid you’ve nailed it. We easily give lip service to the concept of servant leadership, but execution of it falls far behind (which itself may be an imitation of the world. Jesus said of worldly leaders: “They call themselves Benefactors” (and seems to leave it unsaid that they are anything but – which is the closest thing to sarcasm I can find in Jesus’ teaching). How often can it be said that we call ourselves “Servant Leaders”, when we are anything but?).

    I’m afraid a large part of the problem is that we don’t really know how to do it, and yet are often unwilling to admit that we lack that knowledge. It is difficult to learn something new if you won’t acknowledge that you lack that knowledge. Maybe it’s just me, but I get the impression that few in the church really have practical knowledge of how servant leadership should work out (and I don’t count myself among that small group – I’m just among those willing to admit to the lack of knowledge). It’s difficult to teach what you don’t know.

    Which might explain why teaching on this is often in a sense upside-down. Again, maybe it’s just me, but it seems to me that you’ll hear a lot more teaching on ‘proper’ structures for authority than you’ll hear on the proper (and Godly) attitude to take when exercising authority. My impression from the Gospels is that Jesus’ teaching emphasized attitude more than structure. It just seems like He often got authority structure questions thrown at Him (largely of the ‘please put me high up in the structure’ variety) and He generally responded with teaching on the attitude you should take when exercising authority.

    • Shawn Thomas says:

      I certainly don’t count myself in that small group either, but I can conscientiously say that I am working on it. And I am blessed to have, and to have seen, some good examples of servant leadership which challenges me to do so.
      Thanks — I always appreciate your thoughtful responses!

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