The third and final lesson from working in a hierarchy is that highlighted in scripture.

Matthew 8:5 And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, and saying, “[Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.” Jesus *said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” 10 Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.

So the story goes: a Roman centurion has a desperate need, his servant is paralyzed and in need of healing. Jesus offers to come and heal the man but the centurion suggested another idea based on his understanding of who Jesus is. He said “I am not worthy for You to come under my roof”. This centurion also understood deeply how hierarchy works. “I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it”. This centurion understood the infinitely powerful spiritual authority that Jesus had. He knew that all Jesus had to do was to say the word, and some how some way his servant many miles away would be healed.

Within authorities (if they are led well) the words and desires one of the one at the top rules, he (or she) is the greatest one that people rally around. This means two things: 1) go against anyone within that line of authority and we risk the wrath of the one at the top. So be supportive of people within if you want to be supportive of the one at the top and we must be supportive if we want promotion. 2) If we are at odds with the one at the top we will be at odds with everyone loyal to the one at the top.

If you find yourself within a hierarchy (and you want to do well) take care to not violate these rules. Hierarchies are neither inherently evil nor inherently good they are simply tools of unity, they align our efforts, commitment and loyalty under one or a few persons.

Another noteworthy fact is that Jesus never set up a line of authority among his disciples nor did he teach them to do so. Jesus did not want some of his disciples above or below the others. He even seemed to prohibit this when his disciples were wanting to do so.

Matthew 20:24 And hearing this, the ten became indignant with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26 It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant

Find Part I of this series here:

Find Part II of this series here:

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