Weekly Perspective – November 26, 2021
We live in a very politically-charged world. That is obviously a very broad statement, so let’s narrow it down a little. The word “political” has many meanings, most of which relate to parties or groups involved in seeking or maintaining civil, governmental power. However, the word has another meaning that would be good for us to focus on now. It can mean: “(derogatorily) relating to, affecting or acting according to the interests of status or authority within an organization rather than matters of principle.” In short, it can mean seeking status within an organization (group of some sort) instead of humbly living by principle.
Political behavior then is not limited to (uncivil) civil governmental authority seeking. Political behavior can be found wherever two or more people come together. It can be found in marriages, among “friends” and within the Church of God. Christ found it among His disciples. “Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, ‘What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?’ But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest” (Mark 9:33-34). We could argue that the disciples didn’t yet have the Holy Spirit and that that was the reason for their status seeking rather than just busying themselves in service to God and to those whom He would call. To do the latter would be acting on matters of principle.
The fact is that those who have received the Holy Spirit must fight the spiritual battle between status and humble principle every single day. The unity and cohesiveness of God’s one Church is at stake. Because we each contribute our own unique part to that potential unity, the question for each of us is, “How is my personal battle going?” How can we know? How could Christ’s disciples know?
James and John wanted to sit on either side of Christ in the coming Kingdom. Seeing that they still vainly desired status, He explained that what they wanted was the superiority and pre-eminence that the Gentiles displayed over their subjects. Christ went on to say, “And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:44-45). They learned that the only way to greatness in God’s Kingdom was to live a life of service to God’s people in order to bring glory to God and not self. They learned that greatness is found in humility and in devotedness to the service of others. We each are to be service-oriented in a politically-charged world.Marshall Stiver