John identifies very serious flaws in this man; “I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first” (3 John 9), is something we need to carefully consider. Putting ourselves first is just the opposite characteristic from the teaching of Jesus to His disciples; “And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all”” (Mark 9:35, also Matthew 20:26-27). John the Baptist and Paul set an example in this lowly character. “He (Jesus) must increase, I must decrease” (John 3:30). “For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God” (1 Corinthians 15:9).
In the context of Jesus’ example as a humble servant, Paul tells us; “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3–4). I find this very testing, but it keeps who I am and what I do in the right perspective!