THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
THE GREATEST IN THE KINGDOM – 2
Today’s gospel: Matthew 18:1-14
The disciples asked Jesus, “Who is the greatest in the
kingdom of heaven?” (v.1). They were not just asking
in order to understand more of the workings of the Kingdom
of God, but they were seeking to be affirmed as to their own
position of glory, as they had followed Jesus and belonged
to his core.
we too have been chosen and called, and we have responded.
We know we are destined for greatness, as we follow and do
the work of a great God. Many have gone on to positions of
leadership. We might also wonder about our position in the
Kingdom of God. What distinguishes us so that we can be considered
greatest in the Kingdom?
First has to do with our personal posture. Those who are great
are called to be humble.
his disciples then and to us his disciples now, Jesus basically
says that greatness in the Kingdom is measured not by rank
or power but by childlikeness. “He called a child over,
placed it in their midst, and said, ‘Amen, I say to
you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not
enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like
this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’”
young children are helpless on their own, older children have
no accomplishments as yet in life, and children in the time
of Jesus had low social standing. In other words, they have
nothing to be proud about. We in turn are helpless without
God, are unable to do the work of the Kingdom apart from the
power of the Holy Spirit, and are lowly slaves of our Master
Jesus. Only as we understand this can God truly use us and
make us great.
Second has to do with our personal witness. Those who do the
work of the Kingdom and who care for the flock as leaders
are to show the way to others. They lead the way, and they
model the way. To witness is to imitate Christ, to be holy.
People look to their leaders for guidance, direction, counsel.
Leaders have a big impact on the lives of those who follow
them. So Jesus warns them not to cause them to sin. Jesus
proclaims a harsh penalty for such a leader. “Whoever
causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung
around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
do leaders cause brethren to sin, that is, to fall short of
what God expects of them?
being a bad witness as a follower of Christ and leader in
the community. This can happen in different wayshaving
a bad relationship with his wife or children, negative speech,
uncontrolled vices, wrong
use of power and position, lording it over his subordinates,
questionable use of financial resources, and so on.
failing to correct brethren and instruct them in the right
ways of God.
not fully instructing them in the ways of God and the Kingdom
false teaching, often taking on the mindset of a modernist
Third has to do with our personal care for the flock. Specifically,
leaders are to seek out those who are lost or have gone astray.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd who cares for his sheep. God desires
no one to be lost (v.14). Now Jesus has entrusted the care
of the flock to his servant leaders. Thus they are to have
the same concern for no one to be lost. “If a man has
a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave
the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray?”
it is not the one but the 99 who are the lost sheep. Many
pastors in the Church continue to care for those who are in
the churches but are failing to search for and bring back
those who have strayed away. Thus for us, it is not just caring
for those who are still with us, but helping bring back the
lost sheep of the Church. This entails massive re-evangelization.