Your Ambition is Showing
The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 1 Timothy 3:1 ESV
Leaders want to lead! But for Kingdom leaders we can sometimes feel like we should aspire to influence others. We tell ourselves that aspiring to lead is somehow like self-promotion rooted in pride and something that we should keep under wraps. Don’t show it or someone may think your ego has the best of you!
Remember what Jesus said to the Zebedee brothers when they aspired to the top two positions in the coming Kingdom – to sit on His right and left? In Mark 10:25ff we see their aspiration verbalized by their bold request. We can imagine the reactions of the other ten upon hearing this request – “And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John.” Mark 10:41 “Wow, I thought that we were all in this together? I thought we got selected together to this leadership training team three years ago we were all peers?” they must have thought. “Who died and made you king over us?”
Jesus listened patiently and then pointed out several key leadership points related to the Kingdom. First, don’t think that self-promotion will get you ahead in the Kingdom. Leadership positions are determined by the Lord. Let them come to you rather than you chasing them.
Secondly, we note that Jesus did not rebuke them for aspiring to lead, but He did point them to the process for getting ahead in the Kingdom. Choosing to serve others rather than lead others is the path to Kingdom influence. Kingdom leaders can aspire to express their servant identity should God grant them the privilege of leadership. They don’t aspire to leadership positions because of the power they might have, but rather to Kingdom responsibility for God’s glory, not their own ‘lording it over others.’
Thus, Paul reminds Timothy that it’s a good thing to aspire to the role of overseer/elder for this leadership is a ‘noble task.’ Just check your motives. Is it about me or is it about God and His purposes? He knows your heart.
And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 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 10:41-45 ESV
Be like Jesus!