Today’s Scripture: But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Matthew 20:25–28

If respect had anything to do with position, then shorter people like me wouldn’t stand a chance in life. The fact is, respect must be earned the old-fashioned way. Before Philip Pillsbury became the chairman of Pillsbury Co., he worked his way to the top from the ground level. He started as a grain miller and eventually took sales and management positions in the company.

Unlike many executives, Philip Pillsbury was not known for simply calling the shots at the company. He certainly had the ability to do this, but he also had a reputation for rolling up his sleeves and getting involved in the work of common employees. As evidence of Pillsbury’s strong work ethic, the tips of three of his fingers were missing because of his work in the grain mills. Everyone at the company knew that he was no stranger to hard work, and they respected him for it.

Philip Pillsbury didn’t demand that other people respect him once he became president of the company. Sure, his position deserved respect, but he gained the support and recognition of his managers and co-workers only after he earned it.

The same is true for you and me at home, at church, at work, and in our communities. If we want respect, we must prove ourselves first before we can demand it from others. Think about how Jesus, the Creator of the universe, lived. He said He came not to be served, but to serve others. He proved that having a servant’s heart is one of the most important attributes of any leader.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder