Be Different With Jesus3 min read

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45 ESV).

A Common Temptation

With every new school year comes the perpetual problem of hazing. Sometimes hazing takes a relatively innocuous form; other times, it borders on or even becomes assault. But whether the hazing is mostly harmless or almost criminal, the dynamics motivating the behavior tends to be consistent: a student who finds himself or herself in a position where they feel that they are above another student. It could be high school seniors looking down on freshmen; it could be 8th graders getting their first taste of being the oldest ones in the school; or it could be 4th graders who find themselves as the oldest kids in their recess for the first time. But the problem does not end once a diploma is in hand. Throughout our lives, one of the common temptations God’s people face is the temptation to “lord it over” others. Parents are tempted to “lord it over” their kids. Teachers are tempted to “lord it over” their students. Administrators are tempted to “lord it over” their staff. Pastors are tempted to “lord it over” their congregation or its leadership. God’s people are consistently faced with the temptation to abuse their authority and use it as an opportunity to “lord it over” those under them.

A Different Way

Jesus gives us a different way. “It shall not be so among you,” He says (Mark 10:43). Among God’s people, whoever would be great is called to be a servant, and whoever would be first is called to enslave himself or herself to the needs of the people around them. Rather than “lording it over” others in a desperate attempt to climb over them to the top of the pile, teachers and leaders in our Lord’s church are called to approach their vocations from the bottom of the pile, upholding and supporting those whom they serve. The church is the body of Christ in action today, and Jesus is not among us as one to be served, but as one who serves (Mark 10:45). His truest service to the world happened in his self-sacrifice on the cross when He became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). But His is a service that knows no end. He is still serving us today when we gather at His table to be fed and nourished with His body and blood. He is still serving us today as he continues to send faithful messengers into the world to shed light on the darkness of sin with the hammer of his Law, but also to soothe sin-sick consciences with the healing balm of His Gospel. His is truly a service that knows no end. [Tweet “Jesus’ truest service to the world happened in his self-sacrifice on the cross.”] Such is our call as His church today. Such is our joy in Lutheran schools: the joy of service. We serve the educational needs of our youth not merely by handing down algebraic formulas or historical developments, but by cultivating character, by forming children of God. We immerse them in an environment where they see Jesus in service every day. We cultivate not merely knowledge of reading and writing, but of sin and salvation. We teach our students a way of living that is different from the world around us, one not founded in the desire to “lord it over” others, but built on self-sacrifice and service. For our Lord Jesus came not to be served, but to serve. May the same be true of us as we stand in Christ and serve others.

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