We Do Not Think Ourselves As Better Than Anyone Else

Dave Torrens
Posted on Sunday, January 20, 2013 by Dave Torrens

Samuel was born around 1100 years before Christ, and was the last in a series of Judges that God had appointed to lead Israel. He was a man who lived for God and the people and didn’t seek riches or personal power. Samuel was getting old and appointed his sons Joel and Abijah as assistants to help him with the workload. However, they had taken bribes and perverted justice.

This became apparent to the elders of Israel, and eventually they came together from all over the country. They said Samuel was too old, his sons were corrupt and then they asked for a king. They wanted to be like the nations around them who had kings as their leaders. The Judges had served the nation well over the years, repeatedly bringing them back to God, but Israel was still a loose association of different groups. The people wanted a king who was important, that everyone knew was important, and that other countries would take notice of.

Samuel felt completely rejected. He had done a good job bringing the people back to God after defeat by the Philistines. Yet for all that, over the next 20 or 30 years, it seems that the people again had drifted away from God. He must have felt even worse for the fact that the elders pointed out that his sons weren’t up to the mark. They seemed not to have inherited the qualities of their father at all. As a parent, he must have felt some responsibility for the way they turned out. Perhaps Samuel wished he hadn’t spent so much time at the office, and had spent more time at home with Joel and Abijah as they were growing up.

However, Samuel does the right thing, possibly the only thing he could do under the circumstances – he prays to the Lord. And God tells him to warn them what a king will really be like.

The perfect king is Jesus.

Jesus and the disciples are on their way to Jerusalem, and Jesus is explaining again that he will be killed, but then rise again. It seems that James and John really hadn’t been listening. They explain they want to have the positions of honour, literally, one seated on his right and the other on his left when he comes in glory.

Jesus didn’t scold them for wanting to be great, he just corrected them for going about it the wrong way. It’s good to want to be great in the kingdom of God. But seeking position, power, influence or income is wrong. Jesus says that the way to become great in God’s kingdom is to become a servant.

We must be willing to serve without the need for recognition.

We must be willing to pay the price. Jesus made it clear that following him was not going to be an easy task. In the kingdom of God the servant focusses on what they can give, not on what they can get.

We must be looking to serve the needs of others. The worldly view of leadership is of power and control. Jesus said that’s not the way, to lead people we need to work on their behalf.

We should all want to be great, to be the best we can be in God’s kingdom. In order to do that, we must serve others. We are not here to think of ourselves as better than anyone else. We are here to love God and people.

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