Later, Jesus spotted James and John in a boat with their father Zebedee. Again, after questioning it became clear that they too had dropped out of studies to become lowly fishermen. Jesus really wanted some quality people to be his assistants but the pickings were slim. Then he realised that if he surrounded himself with bumbling idiots, that would make him look more glorious by comparison. It might also make people think he invited all to follow him no matter what their education and status, thereby increasing the demographic reach of his ministry. Due to Jesus’ strong negotiating position he soon had his assistants eating out of the palm of his hand.  Mt 4:21-22

I have read some shocking stories of how pastors treat their staff: from expecting them to attend meetings that they are not paid for, to paying them only 90% of their salary (as the rest is automatically tithed back to the church). Indeed, one of my spiritual daughters is an intern and despite being dreadfully ill was expected to get up at night and drive to pick up some people.

Is this godly leadership? Is this loving our brothers and sisters? Is this loving God?

Jesus didn’t use the disciples for his own gain. On the contrary the disciples were the ones who gained.

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mt 20:25-28)

Jesus served His disciples, in one case washing the dung and dirt from their feet which was the lowest of the jobs a slave did. To quote Heidi Baker “There’s only one direction in our ministry: lower still”.

Since this is the godly way this is the path of blessing:

“Whoever gives a cup of water to one of these little ones…will certainly not lose their reward” (Mt 10:42)

Secondly, if we don’t honour them but mistreat them then we will suffer as we are damaging the Body of Christ that we are an intrinsic part of:

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour…If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it. ( Cor 12:21-23a, 26)

It’s so easy to forget this – we think we are serving the body of Christ by our ministry but actually we are expecting others to serve us and we treat those who we see as “less important” with less honour.

Soon as our ministry or gifting comes first and takes the place of Jesus then people just become tools to meet our goals. If Jesus is really first then we will value all the parts of His Body and not just His head.

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