Sep 20, 2014
At the end of his life, one of the many things Jesus did for his followers was to speak clearly about the role of leadership. All through the last few chapters of Matthew, he explains - and ultimately demonstrates on the cross - what true leaders are meant to do: their job/our job (we all lead something!), is to work hard to make the burdens that other must carry easier. We are not meant to just carry them for them - everyone must carry something - but we are suppose to help.
Earlier in Matthew, Jesus described his own work in terms of burdens:
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (11:28-30)
In chapter 23, after enduring their questions designed to condemn him, Jesus begins to critique the scribes and Pharisees. His first judgment: their burdening of others and their failure to serve. One of Jesus' most beautiful statements about leadership, "the greatest among you shall be your servant," comes in the middle of a harsh critique of the scribes' and Pharisees' hunger for recognition even while they did nothing to help others. (See Matthew 23:1-12.)
In helping his followers think about their role once he is gone, Jesus discusses what it means to be a "trustworthy and sensible" servant (Matthew 24:45-51). Their job, while he is gone, is to help feed their fellow servants. Their job is to make sure their fellow servants have what they need to do their work.
As in the picture that heads this entry, we live in one line, each helping to lighten the load of others. At least, that is what Jesus has in mind.
(This image originally appeared in the Good News Bible and is one of many by Annie Vallotton, who has spent a lifetime lighteing the load for many through her art. I think her heart is captured well in this short bio and interview