Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something.  And he said to her, "What do you want?" She said to him, "Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom."  Jesus answered, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?" They said to him, "We are able."  He said to them, "You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father."  And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers.  But Jesus called them to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.  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 your slave,  even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:20-28 (ESV)
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 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 your slave.”
There is so much in these lines. Christians, laity and pastors alike always need to be reminded of. So many of our church squabbles, so unbecoming of Christians, come down to these questions of authority. When people begin asking who has what authority, the battle is lost. Pastors come to serve the laity, they come with the gospel. This is what they are about. The laity come to hear the gospel and in turn they have their own places of serves. We are servants to each other, slaves to other, even as we are free in Christ. That is the main thesis of one of Luther’s greatest works, “On the Freedom of the Christain” we are slaves to no one, and slaves to everyone. Our first love must be Christ, keeping him in focus is key to knowing when to serve and when to be served.
Christ, the son of man came not to be served, but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many. It’s a paradox, but the greatest service we can be to Christ, is to let him serve us in the way he wants, with his gospel and sacraments. He serves us. He saves us. He gives himself to us as a ransom for many. It is this and not our own glory that propels Christian service, we want to bring his love to our neighbor. He gave himself for us, in giving ourselves to others, we then give them Christ. But this does not mean abadoning house and home for the gutters of Calcutta. Seriously, one need not go that far to find poor. But it starts even at home. A Husband and wife serve each other and become slaves to one another showing the love of Christ to each other, this flows to children and back and forth. Being a good employee, or employer is the same thing. In fact this is every thing that is wrong with Monkishness whether Buddhist, Roman Catholic, or the type so often found in evangelicalism where good works are not considered till you spend your vacation making outhouses for the poor in Mexico, or your marriage is on the rocks because you are spending too much time trying to serve Christ by volunteering at the church. There is a place for doing works of charity and volunteering at the church, but God calls us to be in family and serving there is no less serving Christ who gives his life as a ransom for many, so that we need not concern ourselves with earning heaven, but can truly love those he has put in our lives and be loved by them, knowing that He first loved us.