FIRST BIBLE LESSON: MATTHEW 20:26
"But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister."
SECOND BIBLE LESSON: MATTHEW 23:11
"But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant."
GOLDEN TEXT: 1 PETER 5:3
"Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock."
Today, I wish that the earthly rulers, kings, princes, Bishops, Governors, chiefs will come to hear the message sent to them. The theme for last week was for servants. Today, it is for the masters who feel that they are always on top, and to rule. Look around the world today, and you will see that leaders cause all the confusion in the world. To rule, to be a boss, or to be a head of department has principles embedded in today's Gospel. Rulers have forgotten that somebody appointed them to that seat of responsibility, and in the end they will demand from them an account of their stewardship. If you are a village head, Christ appointed you. If you hold any key position, remember that somebody put you there. If you are a headmaster, principal, lecturer, do not forget that somebody placed you there. If you are a Bishop in a church, elder, or whatever position you may be placed, remember that somebody put you there. Your maker did not put you there to maltreat, offend, and to discriminate, dispensing justice unfairly. All who are placed over or above others must serve as servants, as the least, as the messengers among others. You must see to their welfare, their clothing, and the type of duties apportioned to them. In whatever capacity, know that those under you must be catered for are commensurately remunerated.
Sincerely speaking, those under you have no duty to discharge. You have all the duties. They look to you for example. Who is a master? He is a person who is capable of doing all things without advice. He must be patient, humble, tolerant, and longsuffering. He must love all. He must be an expert in everything, sweeping, dancing, reading, working. People learn from him, not he from others. You must be awake when your servants are asleep. It is one thing to be called a master. It is another thing to be able to do what a master should do. When you are capable, you take on another name. To be ruler is one thing. But to rule in such a way that everybody comes under the umbrella of love is yet another. Remember that your maker did not teach you to subjugate your subordinates into slavery. Even before marriage, you must understudy the marriage ordinances. You must study how to care for a household and family members.
You say that you are a chief engineer, and you are not efficient in the mechanics of the job. Why do you arrogate that name to yourself? You say you are a principal, but you cannot bear to have children placed under you. Why not renounce your post respectfully. You say you are a village-head, and yet you do not attend to the needs of the villagers. Why not vacate your seat? If you are designated a permanent secretary, and you discover that you cannot administer to the needs of your workers, they cannot get their pay at the right time, quit your post honourably. If you are head of state, military governor, president, and you find that you are short of the expectation of justice and fair play, leave that office, and save your good name. To tell you in earnest, the whites have taken one aspect of the gospel and they live by it seriously. But the blacks have rejected the entire gospel. When the white man is a boss, he has sleepless nights. He is always at the office. He puts his energy into the job and glorifies the person who appointed him. Why are you asked to be patient, humble, longsuffering, tolerant, and to keep the veritable virtue of leadership? It is so that you may be true to the Lord, so that when the great shepherd comes, you will give a good answer. You ought not to be indebted to those under you, neither should you afflict them or hurt their feelings.
If you feel you cannot make a good husband, that you cannot meet the obligations of the marriage, then you better leave the women to stay in their parents' homes. If you cannot pay your staff, then discard the idea of establishing a business. If you think the church you are founding will be too much responsibility for you, forsake the idea of founding it. If you cannot organize your village, then leave the post of head to others. If you cannot rule but the government is placed in your charge, run away from this responsibility so when the master comes you will not be found wanting.
Jesus the Lord warns that He will judge the shepherds who cannot tend their sheep well. People think that responsibility is sitting in an ivory tower and amassing wealth. This is the source of all troubles in government departments. People think that when in power they should use the wealth of their positions without discretion. The trouble in the world today stems from leaders who are not equal to the demands of their positions.
Once in a while, you complain that your house is not in order. The people in your house, have you respected them and catered for them? You complain that your subjects do not regard you. Have you regarded them, compensated them, and treated them fairly? Some say that those in their offices do not respect them. Have you paid them fair wages? The scriptures warn you against cheating the labourer of his pay.
Do you not see today that husband and wife cheat each other? They also cheat their maids and servants. They do not pay them well. In the office, the clerks are not cared for well. Then trouble erupts.
God placed you as the head of the village, town, government, ministry to dispense justice for the peace and welfare of the people, and those in responsible positions as stewards, are placed there to see to the betterment of the lives of those placed under them. Do you not know that if you are elected at a time you are a slave, you become free. If you are elected as a freeborn then you become a servant to serve those under you. As the head, if any of the sheep strays, you are responsible and you will be held accountable.
You tend to see these issues from the wrong angle. None of you takes responsibility seriously and devotedly. Therein lies all the confusion. Do you ever ask yourselves, you thoughtless ones, why leaders lose their positions? It is wrong for a master to sit cross-legged, and complacently idle away the time. It is very wrong for a chief to doze away while those under him are dying and suffocating from poor health-care. It is very wrong for the Head of any department to sit and watch the job decaying. If you sit cross-legged, who will do the work? You should set the example for those under you to emulate.
Has God not taught you with His own example? God created the universe perfectly. When did He go to sleep? If God ever sat down to relax, what good would ever have come your way? When Jesus came in God's likeness, did he ever relax? He was busy all the time He was on earth. Christ Jesus says, "You call me master and Lord. It is true for so I am. If I who am your Lord and Master so wash your feet, you should do the same." (John 13:13-14). He gave an example. The King of the angels came down on earth. The wise men testified thus, "Where is He that is born the king of the Jews? (Matt 2:2) Show us, so that we too may go and worship Him." But Jesus did not glory in His kingly position. He subjected Himself to serfdom, visiting the sick, and the weak. He set an example for you to emulate. Have you ever recalled a case where Jesus allowed Himself to be ministered unto? Every time He was up and doing. When did He afflict the poor or the rich? Never in His life. Don't you read that He shared everything with His disciples? He ate from the same pot. He washed their feet which is the dirtiest part of the human body.
You will sit down as a lord and shout on one servant after the other to bring this and that. Do we not know that whatever we do is always observed and imitated. The name Master, Leader, is embodied in love. Without love you cannot lead. You cannot be a master just because you are regally clothed, helmeted and neatly costumed, be assured that you must perform your kingly duties.
Let us read the First Bible Lesson; and you who want to lead, listen attentively.
FIRST BIBLE LESSON: MATTHEW 20:26
"But it shall not be so among you, but whoever shall be great among you, let him be your minister."
Yes, you know why last Sunday's sermon was given to make dutiful servants of today the great masters tomorrow. The Lord who kept servants well yesterday, may also become greater masters tomorrow. You masters must work in your houses, you must run a few errands in your office, otherwise you may be dethroned from your ivory tower unto the dust.
You, the office boss must make sure that your staff is well paid. Visit your parishioners, if you are the chief or bishop. Supervise their homes and see that they are alright. That is why you are highly placed. No ruler of any group has any right to maltreat anybody. If this is done he will definitely lose his position. In the government, you have no right to terminate anybody's appointment. Have you terminated your own appointment, or have you never misbehaved on duty? Who gives you this right to sack a clerk? Has it occurred to you to ask yourself how this unfortunate family will get along with increasing cost of living? You give query to be answered in forty-eight hours. Whoever gave you one? Has Christ ever given you a query?
You afflict your servants. You curse. In the office you maltreat people. At home, you are a terror to even your own children. Is that your assignment from Christ to the world? What you see now is only the beginning of doom and the woes that are yet to come. The Great Shepherd is coming. He will tell the leaders that they have perverted justice.
Do nothing to accredit yourselves, my brethren. But do everything in such a way that when the Great Master comes He will give you a good reward. Do not damn anyone who is under you. Do not be harsh to those under you, approach them with love, peace, tolerance, and longsuffering. Your subordinate complains that he has no food and so cannot come to work. You afflict him and urge him to struggle on an empty stomach. He is sick. You push him onto the job to die on it. Is that why you are placed in authority? You will know greater things when the great shepherd reveals himself. So carry this message to the leaders, heads of departments, churches, and homes so that they may reason and practise, and on the day of reckoning they may get rewards for their works-of-good, good; and of bad, bad.
God endows us with special talents, but do not use these talents to suppress your fellow beings. They are for the advancement of the lives of mankind. Have you seen what is happening now? There is a contest for power in homes. The village head tries his influence on the villagers. The head of department measures his power in the office. But soon they lose their positions. It is a sign of worse things to come. The root cause of trouble in the world today is that there is nobody equal to the task of a good shepherd. The duty of the shepherd is to serve. If you care for the sheep diligently, the chief shepherd of the entire flock will give you a certificate of merit.
If you are quarrelsome, irascible, lethargic, what will the subordinates copy from you? At home, the wife and the husband do not exchange words for months. It is the same in the office. It is the same in the homes. What type of masters are you then? What examples are you laying for the little ones? You who are a leader of any category have a special duty to see to the welfare of all placed under your charge. Make sure that salaries are paid on time. Cater for both the material and spiritual well-being of those in the churches. By so doing, you are doing your work as a master, otherwise, the cudgel of the master awaits you.
When there is a good leader, there is light. But when a weak, wicked leader reigns, suffering, darkness, and death are manifest. The task of a master is great. He must be humble, peace-loving, even tempered and virtuous. He must be a good administrator so that when the great shepherd comes, he will be exalted. Because masters are blind, lazy, petty-minded, and wicked, the dutiful and industrious labourers are neglected and unpromoted. The lazy drones, and cheats, and dare-devils are promoted and honoured. Tell me why a big boss should take bribe. Who should actually be given? The master who has plenty and to spare receives from the poor man who is in need. Is that not a disgrace to your nation, to your church and to humanity? Christ came to serve, indeed not only to serve but to set His life as a ransom for the salvation of mankind. He set worthy examples. Should the fathers and mothers serve their children or otherwise?
Paul contends that he is not after your wealth, but after you. As Paul served the new Church without thinking of benefits, so should parents serve their children. Before Christ gave Peter authority to care for the sheep, He had in mind the afflicted, the destitute, and the homeless. The wealthy does not seek employment. The poor and the afflicted need jobs. And once they got these jobs, the lions want to devour them. They are queried, denied, sacked. Is that what they went for? And tell me, is that what the leaders are appointed for?
Christ talks of the common purse. This is the world today. Give this purse to those who need it. But leaders never do this. Only those who have, take from the common purse. The sufferings of humanity from Europe to Africa, to Asia emanates from this. So be not surprised at the destruction that may face the world. Let the Second Lesson be read while you take stock of your requirements. Know where you fail and try to make amends. Our Second Lesson is recorded from the Book of Matthew 23:11.
SECOND BIBLE LESSON: MATTHEW 23:11
"But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant."
Brethren, have you heard that? The principal shall therefore teach, supervise and not lazy away the hours, so that the great shepherd will reward him well at His coming. The head of the family, village, town, shall not just sit down and order people around. He will be actively at work, feeding, clothing, sheltering, and being mindful of the needs of all. In similar manner those responsible for churches, government, and private establishments shall see to the welfare of those under them.
Some of you are aspirants to power, you wish to take the position of responsibility. Watch the ministers and commissioners. Some of them do not come to work. They stay at home and files are sent to them to sign. At the end of every month they draw their fabulous salaries for jobs not done. Is it the type of leadership you aspire to? Some folks angling for these positions fail to understand that men in responsible positions should have sleepless nights.
Or go into the churches and observe what is happening. Which minister of God preaches from Monday to Sunday? Not many, no not one. He delegates responsibilities, and comes in only on Sundays during communion where he will get the money. What type of church minister is that? Members are sick, the church leader does not know. Members have cases, but the church leaders do not care. There is chaos and confusion everywhere. The church leaders are unconcerned. What makes these churches powerful then?
If bishops and arch-bishops do not conduct common prayers, give sermons daily, see to the needs of members, who should do these jobs? All churches the world over preach only on Sundays. Why should spiritual food be given only on Sundays? What happens to the other six days? THE WORD OF GOD IS FOOD FOR THE SOUL.
Christ Jesus Our Lord says, "My Father worketh until now and I work." (John 5:17) You do not give the word of God with measure. You give the word of God at all times. The village head must be up and doing. Everybody in a position of trust and responsibility must be up and doing. You say you are a master. At eight o'clock you are still sleeping. When will your servants get up? If masters sleep until eight o'clock, what will the wife and children do? When will he go out in search of the welfare of the family?
Those in position of responsibility are therefore those who must be up and doing. All the bestowals of God on you, wisdom, wealth, education, health, are all for the betterment of mankind. When the good shepherd comes he will reward you.
If you were ordained a prophet and you demoralize and demote and suspend members of your church, ask yourself if that is what you were ordained for. When placed in a position of responsibility, you are expected to walk around and minister to the needs of your subordinates. If you are a choirmaster, you do not lord it over your members. If you are a president, do not lord it over the people. Whatever position you are placed in, over others, co-operate with those under you.
If you are a class prefect, your duty is not to report others at all times. Your duty is to see to the welfare of those under you. We now see that we often refuse the responsibility God gives us, and instead, we put on airs of self-deceit, pride, arrogance, and party spirit. This is why there is great wanton destruction, disrespect of parents, epidemics and plagues all over the world.
Carry this gospel, brethren to your home, cities, and make it clear that the duty of those in power is to serve or minister. Do not curse or afflict or take bribe, or do not be reporting or querying, for that is not why you are placed there. When one sheep is lost, look out for it, whether the sheep is good or bad, be he drunkard or a fornicator, search for him and teach him in the way God instructs.
When Christ's disciples entered a field of maize and plucked at random (Matt 12:1), the onlookers complained to Our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus as the master, did not incriminate them. When David went and ate the shewbread which was meant for the high priest, the high priests did not incriminate him. (1 Sam 21:6). Anybody placed above others must not be quick tempered, puffed up or party spirited. He must be humble and peace loving. You leaders and masters upset the minds of servants by giving them what they do not need, and starving them of their basic needs. Let us read the Golden Text.
GOLDEN TEXT: 1 PETER 5:3
"Neither as being Lord over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock."
Have you heard that, brethren? The husband claims he is lord of the house. The wife claims superiority over the children. "You can die if you like but you must carry out my order. I am your mother." The village head puffs up and claims superiority over members of the village. At the work place, the foreman puffs up. Do you petty masters not know that your Big Master is in heaven? He rewards every worker according to his merit. He is no respecter of persons. So from today, let us not measure our power with those under us for this is displeasing to God who is our master. Rather, let us live lives of respect, love, fellowship with those under us. Tell all those charged with authority that God made them a mirror for those under them. Do not afflict your servants, your clerks, your villagers, your tenants, and even the stranger elements in your town.
You often forget that whatever you do is to God who has placed you highly. Do not think that your high place in government is just by election. Your place is prepared by God. God causes the election. Last week, brethren, you wished that servants were around to hear the gospel. Today the gospel is for the master, the husband, wives, leaders, fathers and mothers. Here today, have you heard how to treat those under you? Did God appoint you to afflict those under you? Those in offices have called others names like delinquent, thick-heads. But the leaders are all responsible for their pitfalls. So let us all turn over a new leaf. Soon the Great Shepherd will come and reward everyone according to his works.
Do not suspend, suspect, afflict. Do not think that you can do away with anything at anytime. You should not sack wives, nor sack workers. Only God has power over all these things. See the prodigal son, how he strayed but later came back and asked his father to take him back as a servant. His father then opened his arms and took him in. (Luke 16:20).
Saul was an enemy of Christ. On his way to Damascus, he had an open encounter with Jesus Christ. When Jesus directed Ananias, he complained that Saul was an enemy of the church. Jesus warned them that from that day Saul was a vessel of election. (Acts 9:13). See, brethren, how God uses His children. All those under you are in trust, for you are not the sole power. God gives you no authority to afflict but to love and bind together. Whatever you see always has a great impact on you. So the examples of masters are all imprinted on the minds of servants.
Peter and the rest of the Apostles saw the great examples of the great master Jesus. It was imprinted on their minds. It influenced their lives, so they served their followers. After Peter and the Apostles, the church lost sight of these glorious apostolic virtues, and affliction affected the whole world.
So let us fix our minds on Jesus, the Originator of these golden teachings and qualities. He gave examples by washing the feet of the disciples. The feet are dirty. If Christ so condescended, why not you?
Brethren, we shall not be tedious with you. Those who have ears let them hear. May God bless His Holy Words. Amen.
THANK YOU FATHER.
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