How Not to Lead

John Koedyker

Read: Mark 12:35-40

“Beware of the scribes . . .” (v. 38)

Around AD 600, Pope Gregory I revised a list of evil thoughts, which came to be called the “Seven Deadly Sins.” At the top of that list is pride.

Pride and vanity were, without a doubt, one of the things that got Jesus’ ire up more than anything else. William Barclay calls the words in today’s verses “as stern as Jesus ever spoke” (Daily Study Bible). For him, religion was about serving, not being served. He just could not take it when religious leaders put on a pompous show of prominence.

Unfortunately, our natural human tendencies lead us to focus on ourselves rather than others. We like recognition. We like to have people honor us. When I was in Japan, I once heard of a pastor who confided to a missionary that the reason he wanted to be a pastor was so that he could be the boss and tell people what to do.

As incredible as that may sound, vanity is a sin that can sneak up on us very quickly and subtly, and before we know it, we start feeling that it’s more about me and what I’ve done than about God and what he’s done. The best way to remedy this is to practice humility. The apostle Paul rightly instructs us: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Phil. 2:3) —John Koedyker

As you pray, ask God to help you to think of yourself not more highly than you ought, but to sincerely care for the needs of others.