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  • Writer's picture~Kimberly Oden

Learning to Lead by Choosing to Follow


I love it when Jesus asks a question. He already knows the answer so I think the aim is connection with the one who answers…or in the case of Mark 9:34, the ones who DON’T because they know they are about to be corrected 😳


The disciples argued among themselves who is the greatest. When Jesus asks what they are discussing, He gets crickets. When the men don’t answer, he sits down & calls them all together. What He says next HAS to blow their minds because it’s confirmation that He knew what was on their hearts! He says:

Whoever wants to be first must take last place & be the servant of everyone else.


I love His approach. He stops, sits down & calls the 12. It sets the stage with love and grace so that He might speak Truth which may otherwise be difficult to swallow😬


What’s cool about the verse is the word “wants”. It doesn’t say whoever IS first place, but whoever WANTS to be first. He doesn’t condemn the desire to be first, but He does address the why behind it!


That word “servant” comes from the root “diaknos” which is where we get the word “deacon”. Unlike “slave” which refers to a  CONDITION  of the person, “servant” denotes the ACTIVITY of a person - & it’s voluntary.


Real greatness, true first place success can only come with feet CHOOSING to follow Jesus!


Years ago we co-founded a K-12 school. Our hope was that it would become a leadership academy that trained & equipped students, “in the way they should go.” The tagline is still one of my favorite sayings on the planet: 

Learning to Lead by Choosing to Follow


If we desire to be a leader, then we must become like a child who doesn't jockey for position. A child simply follows His Father & trusts Him to provide all things…even the opportunity to lead in anything in life.


It’s the heart-stance that matters! There is nothing wrong with the disciples’ desire to be great! It’s the why behind it that matters to Jesus.


Father, we are all in positions of leadership in our lives - as a parent, in our job, in friendships…we DO want to be first SO THAT we can lead people to the Hope we have in You! Humility can be hard, but it isn’t even a thing when we learn to lead by choosing to follow Your footsteps.


LEVITICUS 22:17-23:44

MARK 9:30-10:12

PSALM 44:1-8

PROVERBS 10:19

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