We have come to the final part of the Lord’s Prayer: “For Yours is the kingdom and the glory and the power forever.” This last sentence is no longer found in most modern translations because it isn’t in the best and oldest manuscripts. Nevertheless, I’m going to include it, since this is the way most of us in this contemporary culture have learned it, and I don’t find it to be anti-biblical in any way.

“Yours is the kingdom.” It’s His kingdom, not ours. He reigns, we don’t. On its face, this seems simple enough, and I don’t think any Christian would disagree with this truth. However, as is often the case with us in-process believers, what we say and how we live and think are two different things. Let’s be transparent here. This is something we all struggle with, in our personal lives and in our ministry lives. On a simple, day-to-day basis, we struggle with giving the Lord control of our lives—allowing Him to reign. We struggle with giving up everything to Him. By everything, I mean our money and goods, our children and our futures. Western Christians in particular are in danger of joining the sad company of the rich, young ruler, who when told to sell all he possessed, give to the poor and follow Jesus, lamentably declined. Although this sell-all-you-possess command was given only to this man, Jesus said, as the fellow walked away, “How difficult it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Since, generally speaking, Western Christians are rich by the world’s standards, this should give us pause.

And in spite of the lip service we Christian leaders give to the truth that it’s the Father’s kingdom, not ours, we run our churches as if we were indeed rulers. Now, ruling in the world is something we all understand. Coaches coach. They “rule” over their teams. If a football coach says, “Next week we’re going to two-a-days,” that’s what happens. If as basketball coach says, “Okay, guys, full court sprints,” the players start running. Bosses run businesses. When the boss says, “You can’t drink on the job,” employees don’t drink on the job, if they want to remain employed. Presidents, prime ministers, legislators, and, of course, kings and dictators also “rule,” in varying degrees. (Thankfully, democratic republics limit this rulership.) This is just simply the way the world works. This isn’t something that we question or don’t accept. Things wouldn’t work any other way. However, many of our Church pastors and leaders, unfortunately, have come to adopt the world’s way of “ruling,” in spite of what Jesus said: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25–28). Hmm. “He who is first among you must be your slave.” Slaves, generally speaking, don’t tell people what to do. Is this how you view your pastor? No, pastors “rule” over their staffs and volunteers. They tell them what to do. They hire and fire people, just like bosses do, or they hire someone to do that job for them. They are the captains of the congregations. Is there anyone but me who questions how the biblical definition of pastor has morphed into leader? I encourage you to check out the gift and ministry lists in Scripture. I encourage you to do a study of leadership in the New Testament. Be prepared for a shock. You will find that the biblical definition and our current definition of leader bear little resemblance to each other.

We’re going to have to stop here. We only got to the first part of this final sentence of the Lord’s Prayer. I don’t think that the next two parts are going to be any easier.