Scripture |Mark 10:42-43
“But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.”
This passage reminds me of many scenes in my childhood. With six kids around, inevitably squabbles would arise because one would offend the other, either through rudeness, anger or downright selfishness. It seems that my parents spent countless hours teaching us the same lessons over and over, because as children our immaturity prevented us from seeing the truth. The disciples seem to be suffering from that same immaturity, and not just James and John, but the entire group.
Jesus, like a loving parent, both sees and addresses the real issue with the disciples; they all want to be great and probably at the expense of each other. It is interesting to note, that Jesus does not rebuke them for wanting greatness, He simply challenges their interpretation of what greatness looks like.
As believers we are privileged to have varied gifts and talents. They don’t all look the same and are not used in the same way, intentionally by God’s design (Romans 12:3-6). Some will minister and influence thousands, while others will reach only tens. We tend to celebrate and reward one over the other, giving status, favor and attributing greatness to those at the top. Jesus candidly explains in this passage that if the disciples want to come after Him it will be more about service and humility and less about position and status. Greatness in His kingdom is available to everyone, not a select few, and is found in the path of service and sacrifice.
Jesus’ life was intentionally filled with sacrifice and service as Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:6-8,
“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death even death on a cross!”
The truth in these verses confronts us and calls us to assess and adjust the way we approach our Christian lives. Let us do what Jesus did, pursue greatness through service, humility and sacrifice. Simply put, it is what Christ followers are called to do.
Lord, help us to adjust our view of greatness and spend our lives in service and sacrifice, modeling the effective and powerful life that You led. Amen.