Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.
From Jonathan Sanders
The greatest among you will be your servant
This passage always reminds me of one of my favorite hymns, “The Servant Song”. The first stanza is what gets me the most:
Brother, let me be your servant.
Let me be as Christ to you.
Pray that I might have the grace
To let you be my servant, too.
In this passage, Jesus is attempting to get his disciples to pay attention to the message and to do what he teaches…but also, to pay attention to what others are doing. Are they practicing what they preach? Clearly, they are not. The Pharisees are long to tell others how to live their lives, but do not heed their own teachings. Jesus wants us to follow our Father’s commandments and to keep His will in mind before all others. Something that I pray for every day is for God to put people in my life who may need me. But this is only half of what I need to be doing. I am quick to serve others in my professional and personal capacity. But, how often do I let others serve me? This passage reminds me that if we are all to have the grace of God, we all need to be servant leaders. But let us also recognize that there must also be people to serve. We all need a turn at both. So my new prayer is to not only let me be of service to others, but God, grant me the grace to let one serve me too.