Summary: Pride smothers ministrry
September 23, 2018
The Struggle - The Disciples Focus 0n Jesus’ Message or Their Own Pride?
Jesus has been trying to be alone with His disciples throughout a long journey. It seems that He could never be alone with them long enough to teach and prepare them for a time when He would be gone. We have to wonder why! Was it to show us that the ministering to the hurting and needy is paramount in ministry? Could it be that there is a lesson here that there will always be distractions to shadow the gospel? Are we not to stand firm and strive forward, even in the face of adversity and distraction? I can’t answer those questions with certainty, but I do know about distractions and adversity to my ministry.
In this reading, Jesus is trudging onward to Jerusalem with this band of disciples. He is trying to teach them how important it is that they be prepared and ready to carry on after He is gone from them. So, as Jesus begins telling them of the betrayal, death and resurrection, they don’t quite understand. Why? They are distracted! Instead of questioning and seeking more understanding of what Jesus is telling them, they become more interested in themselves and who among them is the greatest. Pride has raised its ugly head.
Jesus exercises humility to the hilt and demonstrates being humble as a lesson for His disciples and for you and me. Most churches, large and small have within the congregation and more so among the board of deacons, elders or leaders one or more who strive for recognition and prestige. That distraction robs the focus and message of the church ministry.
So, as they walked along, Jesus picked up on this distraction. It seems that Peter, James and John were in the thick of this distraction. Jesus took these three aside and asked, “What was it that you disputed among yourselves on the road?” (vs 33). They didn’t answer Him. They knew better, and they knew that He already knew the answer to that question. (you know – The Omniscient One).
Jesus called the twelve together and laid it out plainly for them. “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all”. (vs35)
The humble response to this age-old distraction of pride can destroy a church. In an effort to be humble, a pastor whom I know allowed a prideful board member to boast and strut his personal self-importance among the congregation and even to church visitors. The pastor was patiently working towards a more harmonious relationship but should have stood firm and confronted the situation. What eventually followed was a church split. The church is now known as a “micro-mega” church and has close relations with worldwide ministries.
As we close this message, I ask you to self-assess whether you are a distraction or an asset to your church. Are you willing to abide by Christ’s teaching in verse 35? Are you willing to be an asset rather than a distraction? Are you willing to be LAST of ALL and SERVANT to ALL? Or are you driven by pride and self-importance? A self-MADE man usually worships his “MAKER”. Let’s worship our CREATOR.
Let us pray -