Sometimes only one or two of the gospels have a particular story. But this story about the apostles obsessing over their egos is in three of them: Matthew 18:1-4, Mark 9:33-35, and Luke 9:46-48. In the Amplified Luke tells that an actual controversy arose during which they argued over “which of them might be the greatest surpassing the others in excellence, worth and authority.” Really? Excellence, worth and authority? Here they were squabbling over their own positions, their “pecking order” as it were, and all the while the Creator of the Universe, the King of Glory, the living God was among them, eating the dust of the road, wearing coarse homespun, sleeping on the hard ground, giving himself away to anyone who asks, being touched by lepers and prostitutes alike, not worrying one bit about His position or seeking to exalt Himself.
And aren’t we still doing the same thing today? Here we are in the midst of God’s presence, His love, the move of His Holy Spirit, and we worry about our importance, what rung of the ladder we stand on. I suppose pride will always be part of the human condition and will need to be put under subjection. But here’s the thing, like John the Baptist who said, “I must decrease and He (speaking about Jesus) must increase,” the more we decrease, the more secure we actually become and the less need we have of proving ourselves, proving we are worth something.
But what of those who really want to become great? There is a secret to greatness, you know. And Jesus revealed it in these chapters. It’s a stunner and flies in the face of worldly wisdom. And the secret is this: we must become like little children, trusting Him, believing Him, relying on Him. And then the clincher: “For he who is least and lowliest among you all—he is the one who is truly great.” For God, greatness is attached to lowliness, to a servant’s heart, to one who is humble and who trusts Him. Today there are so many looking to promote themselves, to become noticed, to make “something” of themselves, when all the while God is saying we already are something and can be even greater in His eyes if we but follow His example of humility and service and faithfulness.
I think when we get to heaven and God pulls out His honor roll of those greatest in His kingdom, we’re going to be surprised over how many names are on it of people we have never heard of, people who led quiet, ordinary lives, lives submitted to our King, and lived out in holiness and humility. And the wonderful thing is that we can be among them if we care to apply God’s secret.
Until next time,