Mark 9:30-37 (CEB)
From there Jesus and his followers went through Galilee, but he didn’t want anyone to know it. This was because he was teaching his disciples, “The Human One will be delivered into human hands. They will kill him. Three days after he is killed he will rise up.” But they didn’t understand this kind of talk, and they were afraid to ask him.
They entered Capernaum. When they had come into a house, he asked them,“What were you arguing about during the journey?” They didn’t respond, since on the way they had been debating with each other about who was the greatest.
He sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,
“Whoever wants to be first must be least of all and the servant of all.” Jesus reached for a little child, placed him among the Twelve, and embraced him. Then he said
“Whoever welcomes one of these children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me isn’t actually welcoming me but rather the one who sent me.”
Jesus demonstrated humility in every place. He talks to the disciples about the importance of being humble. And after all this talk, all this explaining, the disciples still don’t get it or they simply refuse to get it; they still are more interested in being Jesus chosen successor and best buddy than caring for others, and so Jesus provides them with the example of a little child, and he said: “Whoever welcomes a child like this in My name welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me is welcoming not Me, but the One who sent Me.”
On the way to Caperanum, these 12 disciples seem like they are self-centered, self-seekers who are focused on wealth, fame, and power. Their pride won’t allow them to see sitting before their very eyes is THE SAVIOR and that Jesus alone can offer them fulfillment, not only in Paradise, but as we are here on the earth. And Jesus, ever teaching, ever reaching, seeks to remind of why he has truly come.
Perhaps we aren’t content with our situation in life. Perhaps we are overly ambitious in the workplace or in the community…perhaps neglecting other things. Many of us will never express it out loud, but we often want the biggest, most decorated house, the latest model of our favorite car, the latest gadgets, or fattest bank account. Or we want to be the best at our talents and we let working at being the best take the joy from them. We want the closest parking space to the door, the most marbled steak in the meat case, or the first class cabin on the cruise. Let’s face it friends…as a society, most are reaching to be #1. Sitting on top looks pretty appealing.
Just like those original disciples, Jesus calls us back to our senses with these words, “Whoever wants to be first must be last, and whoever wants to be the greatest must be the servant of all.”
Who do I serve mostly?
In what ways am I putting my neighbors before myself? Are there ways I can offer more?
Loving and Generous God,
I admit, in my weakness and through my desires, I sometimes fail to see the abundance of life and fullness of life through serving you by serving neighbors seen and unseen. Seek my heart O Lord, and use me and use my church family to serve others in New Bern, Craven County and beyond. Please remove any distractions that we all might serve You more fully and intentionally. Heal us from the inside and allow the seeds of transformation for Your creation to be planted deeply in our hearts. May it be so.
Pastor Michael Williams