Submission Is Serving

March 14, 2023

So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:42-45 NLT

I jokingly call myself the Google Queen. Seriously, when I have a question I quickly look for varying opinions and suggestions to consider through this search engine. Last night I googled “mutual submission” and was astounded at the links and articles I found. My astonishment grew when I saw the dozens of “scholarly” dissertations that came first in the lineup. I was more than a dozen in before I found anyone who agreed that “mutual” (done equally by two or more parties) was something THEY needed to practice. Men were vehemently explaining why their role was to lead, and their wives’ role was to submit. Parents were horrified that anyone would suggest they should “submit” to immature and unwise offspring. Some were espousing the apparently reasonable belief that parents must earn respect before anyone could ever be expected to submit to them, and even then, everyone is first their own authority. I could go on. It was disheartening, to say the very least, but it was also enlightening. All of these opinions were espoused by religious people, people who claimed to be speaking as Christians, thus speaking for Christ. No wonder our world is such a mess and the declining credibility of the church is regularly reported in news outlets.

None of those opinions reflected the words and example of Jesus, the only One who has the right and authority to require submission. With all His rights and authority, He CHOSE submission and servanthood. Christ submitted Himself to the people of this world by serving them, accepting their mistreatment of Him, and dying for their sins. By doing so, He submitted Himself to those who were supposed to follow and submit to Him. He said, “Even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Christ submitted Himself to God the Father by doing these things because this is what the Father wanted Him to do. By doing so, He submitted Himself to One who was His equal. In all of those articles, defensive people were protecting their perceived rights, authority, and positions. They did not want to be the lowest person on the totem pole. They completely misunderstand submission Jesus-style. Submission is joyfully, willingly, obediently putting another’s needs first, then serving them. It doesn’t discount ME. It puts me in a special place of love and protection by the Father. It makes me more like Jesus and satisfies me in a way that protecting my rights never will. And, it is the ONLY way to truly lead. Dictators, despots, manipulators—these “lead” by coercion, shame, and control. Great leaders are always followed because they serve.

  • Jesus, Your style of submission is mutual and respectful service. May it be so with me.