Over my many years of attempting to follow Jesus I’ve had a struggle with the desires to be somebody… somebody “great.” It could also be called a desire to be first. And I have to examine where these desires stem from.
Maybe it stems from growing up in our culture… where everyone can get their “15 minutes” of fame. Maybe it’s a part of my wanting to validate my existence not only to God, but to my Christian brothers and sisters, and to my family and relatives. Maybe it’s my own deep insecurity of desiring to prove myself. It’s probably a combination of these and other reasons…not the least of which is pride.
Jesus says, “If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.” (Mark 9:35b, KJV) And Jesus also says, …”for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.” (Luke 9:48b,KJV)
So what do I learn from these statements? Well, interesting enough, we see here that Jesus doesn’t discourage me (or anyone else!) from desiring to be someone “great” or “first.” He just defines what somebody “great” in his mind would look like. And he says in effect, “Ok, Chris, so you want to be considered “great” in my eyes? Well then, I want you to lead the way… by becoming a servant to ALL. In other words, I want you to take last place.”
Jesus is asking us to step down…way down. He’s asking us to be servants of “all” people . And for me, when I do this—stepping down off “high horse” —I find myself staring into the eyes of our “dinner guests.” I find myself standing or sitting right next to the “least of these.”
And what do I discover? I discover that they are already in the “last place.” Indeed, this is where they live! And so it is they who teach me lessons on how to feels to be “last”….or for me not being noticed or recognized as I desire.
But there’s an even deeper truth that I learn as I aspire to be the servant of all. Somehow, in God’s mysterious ways, we are brought together… and somehow we “bless” each other. And so I discover that it is our “dinner guests” who help keep me close to the real Jesus, who demonstrated by the way he lived that he’s always close to these “least.”
So I’ve been going to “school” all these years. And what I have learned? I’ve been attempting to follow the advice of the apostle Paul when he writes, “Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.” (Romans:12:16b, The Message) And I have to give the credit to my many friends. I’ve discovered that I’ve been taught by some pretty good teachers most every day.
Chris. Thanks for stopping by.
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