Would You Rather…?
Sitting down, He called the Twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” — Mark 9:35
Our family plays a game at the dinner table called “Would you rather . . .?” When we ask this question our children have to answer with such questions as, “Would you rather win a World Series or a Super Bowl?”
One night, I asked my three kids: “Would you rather be a great leader or a great servant?”
I barely had time to finish before my ten-year-old said, “Dad, they’re the same thing. If you serve someone, you’re showing and teaching someone what Jesus would do!” After overcoming my astonishment at the maturity of one so young, I realized how right she was. She already understood that a great servant is always a great leader, but a leader is not necessarily a servant.
Maybe a servant is not seen as a leader in the world’s eyes, but leaders and servants are one and the same by God’s standards. In the arena of competition, whether playing or coaching, we need to understand how to really serve. We do not become servants to improve our status as recognized leaders or coaches; true serving is just the opposite. Becoming a servant entails sacrificing and setting ourselves aside, in much the same way that Jesus did when He came to earth to atone for our sins.
Living sacrificially is not easy since it means putting the interests of others first, both on and off the field. But when our attitude is like Christ’s and we place the needs of others before our needs, we experience real joy and freedom. Of course, the decision of whether to serve or be served is a daily battle, but when we remember the One who gave His life for us, we can be confident that His life in us will guide us daily down the path of servanthood.
1. What does our culture value in its leaders?
2. Who are some modern-day servants in the sports world? What makes them special?
3. How could you put the needs of your teammates, athletes or fellow coaches before your own?
Matthew 20:23–28; 23:11–12; Philippians 2:1–11
Father, thank You for sending Your Son to serve me in His death so I may serve others through His life. In Christ's name. Amen.