Nobody likes pretentious preachers – especially Jesus who caught His own crew posturing twice within a short timeframe (Mark 9 and 10). Here are a few of my takeaways from these two embarrassing encounters.
It is More Important to Win Friends Than Arguments
“Jesus asked His disciples, ‘What were you arguing about on the way?’ But they were silent, because on the way they had been arguing with one another about who was the greatest. Sitting down, He called the Twelve and said to them, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all and servant of all’ ” (Mark 9:33-35).
Jesus’ question exposed the condition of their hearts. These apostles in training had been living and serving together for almost three years. They had experienced some significant success with Jesus and, for the most part, had become a band of brothers. Although it is not unusual for brothers to argue, their timing was sobering. Just moments before their argument, Jesus exposed the plot for his imminent murder.
A pastor is in the strut zone when he cares more about winning arguments than about winning the lost. These men weren’t just acting silly, they were acting selfishly.
At the end of the day…nobody really wins arguments.
Paul warned Timothy about the cocky, counterfeit minister who “is conceited, understanding nothing, but has a sick interest in disputes and arguments over words” (1 Timothy 6:4).
We Should Aspire To Be A Slaves, Not Celebrities
At a recent LifeWay Pastor Roundtable in San Diego, Dr. A.B. Vines said, “Ministry is about a towel, not a title.” Jesus addresses their arrogance when infighting and posturing erupted again:
“The other ten disciples began to be indignant with James and John. Jesus called them over and said to them, ‘You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and their men of high positions exercise power over them. But it must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life — a ransom for many’ ” (Mark 10:41-45).
Today marks my first year of serving pastors at LifeWay. I have noticed an awkward tension in my soul between promoting my resources and promoting myself. I am more than a brand with a platform, I am a slave on a mission. If I ever forget that – please unlike, unfollow, and/or unfriend me.
God called us to serve from a pulpit, not strut from a platform.
It is Hard to Strut Sitting Down
“Sitting down, He called the Twelve and said to them, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all and servant of all’ ” (Mark 9:35).
Sometimes our physical posture is a reflection of our spiritual posture. When I catch myself strutting on stage after an amusing comment or engaging thought, I experience a catch in my spirit, and a quench in His.
We Should be Making a Big Deal About Little People
It is hard to strut sitting, and it is even harder to strut bending down, which is likely how Jesus picked up this child.
“He took a child in His arms and said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one little child such as this in My name welcomes Me’ ” (Mark 9:36-37).
Who we are off stage is who we really are. Strutting is for turkeys, and we know where they are on the food chain.