Todays Faithful Daily Read is the greatest EVER and I am happy to argue with you about it – Luke 9:46-48.
I often find myself amazed at the behavior of the disciples. They have witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus, they have seen demons cast out in His name, thousands fed from meager supplies and even have moments of tremendous clarity such as Peter’s acknowledgement of Jesus as the Messiah… and yet they STILL descend into petty arguments as demonstrated in today’s reading. Such behavior also reminds me that the disciples are, in many senses, just like me!
In today’s society, as with the first century, there is a continual seeking after ‘greatness’. Our definition and recognition of greatness may take many forms such as respect, power, celebrity, prestige, material possessions… the list goes on. We are conditioned to continually prove that we are better than the next person and will display our claims to others – even if a little less overtly than the disciples. In Australia we will even show how great we are by demonstrating a faux humility – ‘I did alright’, ‘its not too shabby’… or perhaps like the guy who got bitten by a shark, stitched up his own leg and had a few beers at the pub with his mates before heading off to hospital… THAT sort of greatness?
Jesus attitude and response is counter-cultural. He uses an example to turn the typical top-down hierarchy on its head. Instead of starting with God and working his way down to the lowly mortals, he reverses the flow. He brings a child, one who has no standing or ‘greatness’ in Jewish society and draws the line through himself to God. A right understanding of this quells any question of our own greatness. Our personal greatness fades to insignificance in the perspective of Almighty God. True ‘greatness’ comes not from pride in ourselves but in humility before God.
We would do well to evaluate our standing before God rather than comparing ourselves to others. As I read through this passage today I see my pride and arrogance reflected back at me in the disciples actions. I need to allow the Spirit reveal those areas where I am exalting myself, consciously or subconsciously determining my own ‘greatness’… and then remember the Saviour God
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross! (Phil 2:6-8)
In the face of such obedience and humility, what can I claim in terms of my own greatness? Nought but to lay my life down as a living sacrifice to the King of Kings.
As the first month of this year closes out and the flood of routine closes in, may we walk humbly with Christ and seek to focus on Him rather than ourselves.
PS This isn’t really the greatest faithful daily read EVER… but its not too shabby 😉