We really do idolize these people and some of my younger readers have blogs and pictures to prove it. Hey, my nine year old daughter has a poster of Justin Bieber on her wall that is bigger than me. We transfer this kind of idolizing to leadership as well. We start giving our government leaders the same treatment as the movie stars and are disappointed when they don't have that pizzazz and sparkle. I would dare say that we have started to give this same status to our spiritual leaders as well, especially the big name pastors. But there is only one star in the Kingdom of God.
Mature leadership will not allow themselves to be put in such a position and mature members of the Body will not tempt the leadership to be in that position. If there was ever a star next to Jesus it would have been the apostle Paul but Paul demonstrated the healthy mature attitude and understanding that we all need to gain. Jesus called Paul as a servant and no matter how famous or infamous he became Paul remained a humble servant. He knew his only purpose was to point the world to Jesus. All Christians wanting to grow in maturity need to grasp this same truth, that we are dead to ourselves and made alive in Jesus. Paul taught:
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8)
Spiritual maturity requires that this same attitude would permeate every fibre of our being. As followers of Jesus Christ we gladly serve to whatever end he wants us to, always making sure that it is not about us but about Jesus Christ. The world cannot be saved by us; only Jesus saves.
When the Corinthians attempted to put Paul in this place of hero, lifting him up beside Jesus, Paul wrote to them to correct them:
Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. (1 Corinthians 1:13-15)
See the maturity of leadership here. Paul was saying, "I can't do anything for you. There is no value in me. I didn't die for you and even if I did my death would have had no benefit."
Today we get caught up in all the trappings of leadership. "What does this leader have to offer? How many books has this one written? How large is his church? What unique take does this one have on Jesus? What is his hook? How successful has he been? What makes him different from his peers?" What a foolish bunch of people we are because if that is what we are looking for in leadership it is also how we see ourselves. But the Body of Christ is not about individual stars or great leaders. We already have our leader and there is no one like Jesus Christ. All the rest are just humble servants serving the Body. Paul said to the Corinthians:
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. (1 Corinthians 1:17)
Sometimes in our attempt to be unique, to stand out from the crowd, we empty the cross of its power. In an attempt to look wise we rest on human wisdom, human sayings, human ideas. Everyone is so hungry for the next Twitter-sized thought or quote. What a foolish people we have become. Maturity requires a servant's heart, to understand along with John the Baptist that we must decrease and Jesus must increase. None of me Lord and all of you. There is only one God, only one Lord, only One Spirit. God must take his place and we ours. Maturity makes its progress in us as we allow this truth to guide our thoughts and actions.
There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:4-6)
I can't save anyone, it's not my purpose or my place. Only Jesus saves.