Upside Down Kingdom

Not everyone responds to these blogs online. Recently, one of my friends questioned me by email. “How can you just skip over the passage that said, ‘if you have two coats, give one away?’ How can we Christians live so comfortably in a world that so desperately needs our help? How can I justify all that I own?”

Tough questions, yes?

I can answer in a couple of ways. First, in the passage I mentioned last time, the context indicates that Jesus is speaking to a man who has NOT YET come to faith. And, in his present condition, this man’s abundant wealth was somehow keeping him from coming to belive in God, and the person of Jesus. The passage doesn’t tell us how. Was it his love for stuff? Was it his concern for maintaining the stuff? Was it his passion to accumulate MORE stuff? All of those things can hang us up, can’t they?

And the other passage, (the one my friend mentions, the give away your coat section) has an entirely different context — one that brings us to today’s blogging item. The UPSIDE DOWN KINGDOM.

In Luke 22:25 Jesus says, “In this world, the kings and great men order their people around, and yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ But among you, those who are the greatest should take the lowest rank and the leader should be like a servant. Normally the master sits at the table and is served by his servants. But not here! For I am your servant!”

Jesus is saying here, (and it is emphasized in many other passages) that this new Kingdom, the one he is ushering into place will be very different than the kingdoms of the world. In the world, leaders expect deferential treatment, limos at the airport, free perks, goody bags with diamonds and cash. But in the kingdom of God, leaders must be servants. They must lay down their own lives to serve those they lead.

This is only one of the many many ways that the Kingdom is UNLIKE the world. We’ll probably cover dozens more in the months to come.

Still, this is tough information. For me, I think of this in my writing life. I bring it to my publishing life. I tried always to bring it to my drama team at church. I remember it every time I speak at a retreat. The leader is the servant.

In practical ways, it means that I come to listen more than speak. It means that I try help retreat coordinators both ahead of time, and at the retreat location. It means that I serve the women I speak to, by listening and caring and praying with them about their concerns and struggles. It may mean that I maintain a relationship with a particular woman even months after I leave their retreat. I tried to meet the needs of my drama team, by praying with and for them as we worked together. In the publishing world, it means that I tried to serve my editors and marketing staff by knowing them as individuals, praying for them, sending encouraging notes and always saying thanks when it was appropriate. No matter how it happens, these words from Jesus mean that after I work and work and work as a leader, I must continue to lay down my life and serve some more.

It’s not the world’s way. It’s not the way the Queen of England behaved on her last trip to the US. It isn’t the way presidential candidates want their speaking tours to go. It isn’t the way of Hollywood. It isn’t the way of publishing.

But when you enter the kingdom of God, things are turned upside down.

What things do you do as a servant leader? And in the years you’ve served in the kingdom, what ways have you seen the kingdom is upside down compared to the world? Are there ways we still need to apply this servant leader principle in the Kingdom of God? Have we failed you in some way? Let’s talk! Bette

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