Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him. And He said to her, 'What do you wish?' She said to Him, 'Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left'... To sit on My right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.'
And hearing this, the ten became indignant with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, 'You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His Life a ransom for many.'
Understandably, the mother of James and John sought their happiness. She realized Jesus was the Way to get it, so she petitioned Him for her sons to receive top positions in His coming kingdom. The remaining ten disciples were miffed.
Neither she nor they had learned the new definition of leadership: 'For the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great' (Luke 9:48); 'The last will be first' (Matthew 20:16), because 'The Lord lifts up the humble' (Psalm 147:6).
In their world then and our world now, even when God says the meek will 'Inherit the earth' (Matthew 5:5), humility is a hard lesson to learn--especially for gifted people who reap praise from their peers. But it's better to learn now than fail later.
Because humility is a quiet crown. It doesn't announce its presence. Humility is a modest crown. It doesn't beg to be noticed. Humility is a content crown. It's happy wherever it is. Humility is a working crown. It doesn't expect to be served.
At times, humility is a painful crown, because it covers the heads of our heroes: men and women of courage, willing to take a fall to give others a lift. 'The Crown of righteousness' (2 Timothy 4:8) is a surprising crown, and it's worn by all of God's leaders.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Within the entertainment industry, the enemy offers crown after crown. Self-serving promoters join self-seeking stars. Their offspring? Award shows too many to name; performers competing for fame; each one desiring to lead; but beneath their need is greed:
A hunger for power, profit or position: believing this gain will release them from pain. But it won't. As God would have it, relief from pain is not found in promotion, but submission--specifically to Jesus and His plan. Only in service to others are we filled and satisfied.
Therein, the Definer of leadership is Jesus.
To Be Continued...
* Other times His disciples argued over who would be greatest among them: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke+9%3A46-48&version=NASB; https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+22%3A24-27&version=NASB
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Leadership series.