In a sermon a preacher asked, “What is the
best way to teach children?” And the congregation answered enthusiastically,
“By example!” Albert Schweitzer once said, “Example is not the main thing in
influencing others. It is the only thing.” Jesus taught by example what he
expects from us. Facing the cross, he illustrated submission and leadership at
the last supper with his disciples when he washed their feet and said they
should now serve one another (John 13:3-17).
The concept of submission is often
misunderstood. It isn’t a matter of allowing others to walk all over us. As
Paul applies it to marriage in Ephesians 5, submitting means that both the
husband and wife seek their partner’s well-being. It’s not a hierarchy! It’s
not about authority but about serving one another—and doing so “out of
reverence for Christ,” who gave up his very life for us.
When the mother of James and John asked
for places of authority for her sons in Jesus’ kingdom, Jesus explained that “lording”
it over others is not the way of the kingdom. He urged them to follow his
example: “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give
his life as a ransom for many.”
Whom can you serve and build up, for
Jesus’ sake, today?