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?