Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: To be great we need to understand greatness from God's perspective. To be a great church we must give up on the worlds top down organizational structure.


Good morning Church!

Turn to the person next to you and say, “I’m glad you’re here.”

Find a Bible and open to Luke 22.

Today’s lesson is going to build upon the lesson given by Austin two weeks ago on God’s definition of who is the greatest. As you recall the scene, Jesus and his apostles are in the upper room celebrating the Passover. Sometime, while they were up in the room, from John’s account, Jesus washes their feet. When do you think they would wash feet? Before or after the meal? I agree, I believe that Jesus washed their feet shortly after they arrived in the upper room. Just a guess, but I believe the argument happened after Jesus took up the basin and the towel. Then, during the meal an argument arose among those who were there discussing which one of them was the greatest!

Luke 22:24-27 (NASB) says:

24 And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. 25 And He said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called 'Benefactors.' 26 But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant. 27 For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.

Isn’t it amazing that in virtually every instance, we in our own wisdom does the exact opposite of what is best for our lives? Take for an example the mindset we have about the structure of business, government and other organizations. Our minds naturally go to this pattern: (show the pyramid model with CEO on top then down to the workers on the bottom of the pyramid.)

What do you think of when you see this organizational pyramid? Who is this at the top of the pyramid? That’s right the CEO the top dog. The decision maker. Who are those on the bottom layer? Yes, the ones who support the top dog. We get all sorts of sayings from this model. Things like:

Climbing the corporate ladder.

When I say jump, you say…How high.

I don’t pay you to think, I pay you to…do.

And the derogatory saying dung goes downhill so you better get your waders on and start scooping.

This model has been the model even in Jesus’s day and is still the model today. But did you know that this model is an unsustainable model. A business that actually follows this model will sooner or later fail. Now many businesses have this model shown on their organizational charts but if it is actually followed in practice, the company will fall into disarray and will not be competitive in the global markets.

The reason it fails is in the fact that people are there only to serve the one. They are not paid to think, or be creative. They are there to do what the top dog wants. There is no loyalty. No desire for excellence. If you want to aspire for the top position yourself, you will do whatever it takes to climb over others, stab them in the back etc. to achieve the goal of sitting in the position of power and influence.

Ken Blanchard wrote in his book “Leading at a Higher Level” “When it becomes obvious that profit, which is a legitimate goal, is the driving reason for being in business, everyone-stockholders, top managers, employees, customers, suppliers, and the community-quickly becomes self-serving. They focus on their own agenda and personal enrichment. Employee loyalty and passion often go out the window as the point of work becomes simply to get as much as you can for as little effort as possible.”

I’ve been reading a lot of leadership and management books lately and I am amazed, and not to amazed, that so many of the books that have stood the test of time are based upon a Biblical foundation. It is amazing in the fact that it seems people and businesses don’t follow what is written in these books and not amazing because the Bible certainly gives us all the tools to know how to treat each other and be a powerful influence within our societies and the world.

Ken Blanchard wrote this in the same book “Leading at a Higher Level” this amazing observation: “My travels over the years through organizations of all shapes and sizes have convinced me of two things: Effective leadership starts on the inside, and the right kind of leadership is servant leadership. This is a leadership not based on false pride or fear, but one that’s grounded in humility and focused on the greater good. With the right kind of leadership, leading at a higher level can become a reality.”

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