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The ultimate dream: God’s eternal kingdom

January 19, 2023

Daily Scripture

Luke 22:25-30

25 But Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles rule over their subjects, and those in authority over them are called ‘friends of the people.’ 26 But that’s not the way it will be with you. Instead, the greatest among you must become like a person of lower status and the leader like a servant. 27 So which one is greater, the one who is seated at the table or the one who serves at the table? Isn’t it the one who is seated at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

28 “You are the ones who have continued with me in my trials. 29 And I confer royal power on you just as my Father granted royal power to me. 30 Thus you will eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones overseeing the twelve tribes of Israel.

As our country remembers the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this week’s GPS is built around six short quotations Dr. King might have used on social media (had it been available in his day) and their Biblical roots.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

On August 28, 1963, a huge crowd at the Washington Monument heard Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. After immediate, important American goals, he added: “I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together [Isaiah 40:4-5]. This is our hope.” *

  • Dr. King’s dream reached beyond urgent legal triumphs (though he worked hard for those) to God’s eternal kingdom of harmony and beauty. In Luke 22, as enemies plotted his death on the cross the next day, Jesus promised his followers that they would be with him in that kingdom. Jesus’ vision (and Dr. King’s) is of history moving toward good—God’s ultimate victory, restoring the world to the Creator’s intention. How does that faith strengthen you for life’s darker moments?
  • Robert Greenleaf, Max DePree, James Autry and other admirable business leaders have written powerful books about “servant leadership.” ** Do you find “servant leadership” just an idealistic oxymoron, unrealistic in the “real world”? Or might Dr. King’s adoption of Jesus’ way of leading be a life-giving alternative to the more common views of leadership as prestige and privilege? Have you had the privilege of working with and learning from one or more true “servant leaders”?

Lord Jesus, teach me how to find my glory in serving God and others, as you did, rather than in having others serve me. This is a hard prayer, but I mean it. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory serves on the Resurrection staff as Human Resources Lead Director. Janelle finds that her heart is constantly wrestling with the truth that she needs a Savior, and the times when she's at her very best are when she's just too tired to put up a fight.

When I think about servant leadership, Brent Messick comes to mind. Prior to his retirement, Brent served as the CFO and Managing Executive Director of Operations at Resurrection. Other than Adam, Brent held one of the top three positions within the largest United Methodist Church in the country. He not only had a seat at the table, but he also often ran the table. Brent had multiple teams of people reporting up to him. I knew Brent as my boss’ boss. Brent helped oversee major projects at the church, including bringing on the Downtown location and the construction of Building A at our Leawood location. Brent was (and is) someone important.

Being early birds, Brent and I would often be the first ones into the office each morning. His morning routine was always the same. Knowing I was the only one there, he’d shout down the hall, “Good morning, everyone!” “Everyone says ‘Good morning!’” I’d reply. Then he’d go into the break room. Despite not drinking it, he made coffee each morning for everyone in the office. Following that, he’d go into the prayer chapel to surrender himself to God each day. He did this every single day. Brent was the kind of leader that wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. When there was a flood in the basement of Building C at the Leawood location, Brent was serving right alongside our Facilities team to clean it up. And while church staff are generally all-hands-on-deck to serve on Christmas Eve, you’d always find Brent serving in one of the more difficult positions – out in the parking lot, in often frigid temperatures, directing traffic and assisting people to find their way into the building.

I have a great respect for how Brent carried himself as a leader. As one of the most important people at the church, he was often the first to serve others. I regularly found myself thinking, “Wow! If I were ever a leader like that, I’d hope to be like Brent.” While this statement is true, it’s also flawed. Where it breaks down is that I saw “leadership” as something much loftier than a position I would ever be in. I was giving myself a pass to be a servant leader by not thinking of myself as a leader. But in some way, we are all leaders. We are always following other leaders, but I think we’re always leading others as well. Even if we don’t see ourselves as a leader, we’re not excused from being a leader. To do so is irresponsible to those we lead and to whom God called us to be. We’re made to lead, to be the light. If we’re living as light, there should be those following the light we’re radiating. The degree to which our light shines is dictated by how we lead. I have to think that our light as a leader shines brightest when we’re lifting others up in the ways we serve.

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.