Read Mark 10:35 – 45
When I was a student at Moody Bible Institute a new building called the Sweeting Center was dedicated. The building was named in honor of George Sweeting, the previous president. Dr. Sweeting had been the president for a number of years and had recently entered into his retirement years. Sweeting had traveled the world as the MBI president to visit alumni, missionaries, and preach. He was a very recognized personality in evangelical circles. During the course of all the remarks made at the dedication I was particularly touched by one story told about him. One of the speakers related how he attended the church that was pastored by Dr. Sweeting’s son. After an afternoon meeting at the church the speaker went into the men’s room. As he entered the men’s room he heard a voice singing a hymn in one of the stalls. The speaker asked if was ok to use the men’s room? Out from the stall appeared Dr. Sweeting in rubber gloves and a plastic brush that he was using to scrub the toilet. Dr. Sweeting said, “Absolutely, I just finished.” Dr. Sweeting volunteered as a church janitor at his son’s congregation.
The text for today reveals that not only leaders, but often followers, desire to use the position of leadership for their own advancement. James and John wanted the Lord to do whatever they asked of him, and the request was that they be given the best two seats in the house during eternity. Jesus uses their self-centered request to teach them, and us, the real essence of spiritual leadership. Spiritual leaders sacrifice themselves and all they have in the service of others. If we ever use any position we have to get our way we are not acting consistent with being a spiritual leader. Our desire must always be to serve.
I had a teacher tell me that if I was going to minister to sheep that I should expect to get my boots dirty and my clothes smelly. I count it a privilege to do so. Where do you lead? Are you a parent or grandparent? Do you serve in some way in our congregation? Are you involved in some form of ministry outside the walls of our church? What is your motivation? The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many. Christ laid down his life for us. Christmas was the starting point of that life.
What kind of a leader do we follow? Not one who cares about himself but one who has demonstrated his care for those other than himself. That is just one of the reasons I follow him. Whether I’m preaching or cleaning the toilet at home I have a great model of leadership to follow, Jesus Christ, the leader who came as a sacrifice.