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Today as one of our readings, we look at Mark 9:33-37:
33 Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” 34 But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. 35 He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” 36 Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”
Today in our reading, we see Jesus having a conversation with the Disciples after a journey back to their home base in Capernaum. They had been talking on the way about who would be the greatest in Jesus’ kingdom. This may seem like an odd conversation for them to have been having, but remember, for these Disciples, at this point, they were still expecting Jesus to bring forth an earthly kingdom. It really wasn’t until after Pentecost that they really “got” it.
Today, Jesus gives them insight into what greatness would look like in His kingdom. But it would be nothing like the greatness of this world. It would not be greatness or power based on earthly possessions or strength or might. Greatness in Jesus’ kingdom does not come from anything like this.
It comes from humility. It comes from service. It comes from laying down our lives for someone else. It comes from us getting out of the way and serving someone as Jesus would serve them. We’ll never know true greatness if it is all about us.
We’ll never know true greatness if it is all about us. But when we find ways to empty out ourselves, we give Jesus the space to be Lord of our lives. When we are so full of us, our stuff, our power, our wants, our lives, us, us, us, there is no room for Jesus.
But when we empty ourselves out, He has room to be Lord of our lives. And when He is Lord of our lives, we serve.
You know I like to quote odd people and call them “the great theologian” whomever. I say a lot, the great theologian Bob Dylan. But Dylan had a song that this in a nutshell “Gotta Serve Somebody:”
You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
Indeed you’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody
The path of greatness for Jesus is to serve somebody. Today, if that is what you seek, humble yourself and serve. Then you will truly find greatness.
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