It amazes me to no end that there's actual competition among God’s people for positions of leadership. Pastors butt heads all the time with Deacons, Elders, or long-time members of churches who want things their own way. I think that the problem rests on the fact that God’s people take their idea of leadership from the world, whether consciously or unconsciously.
Jesus could not have been more stark in his contrast in leadership in the world versus leadership in his Kingdom. In Mark 10 he said that leaders in the world “lord it over” people and “exercise authority” over them. “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.” We won’t go into a detailed analysis of this passage, but you can immediately see the difference. The problem is that whenever we vie for positions of authority or try to have things our way, we betray the fact that we're falling into the world’s way of thinking on this issue. I mean, ruling over people, telling them what to do can be fun, right?
But today’s passage touches upon another motive not to seek positions of authority, and it’s a selfish one. Notice that this is the only time in Scripture that Moses screwed up royally. In all the times that the people pressured him to turn back to Egypt and even threatened him, he didn’t back down. The Hebrew nation had rebelled against God “ten times", and their punishment for the final outrage on the border of Canaan was to be forced back into the desert and not be able to enter the Promised Land. Moses did the same thing one time, and his punishment was just as harsh. In other words, the Lord held Moses to a higher standard than he did the rest of Israel.
This realization should give pause to all of us who are called to positions of leadership. God holds us to a higher standard. Leadership in his Kingdom does not mean ordering people around for your convenience (like in the world). It means that you put other’s needs before your own, and he'll expect things of you that he doesn’t expect of others. Does that sound like something you would want to compete with someone over?
Lord Jesus, please give me your attitude. There's no way I can even approach your standard without your grace and strength. Please change me.