Last To First

Read: Mark 9

He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.” (Mark 9:35)

Here is yet another example of the head-scratching logic of the Kingdom of God.  We get that a lot from Jesus: To live, you’ve got to die; to get, you’ve got to give; to receive honor, you must be willing to be humble; to be rich, you’ve got to give it all away; to be first, you’ve got to be okay with last place; to be great, you’ve got to be the servant of all.

Though from the world’s point of view this is totally upside down, its’ totally normal from heaven’s perspective.  When you really think about these kinds of counterintuitive statements, you realize they were values that Jesus deeply held and, in fact, were values he lived out in actions every single day.

Furthermore, as you study the life of Jesus in the Gospels as well as the theology of the entire New Testament, you come to the conclusion that these were not just values Jesus suddenly embraced when he became man just to impress people, these were pre-eternal values fundamental to the essence of God’s being.  As Jesus lived out humility, generosity, servanthood, and sacrifice, you were seeing who God is in living color.

When we invite Jesus to become the Savior and Lord of our lives and embrace the values of God’s Kingdom as our own, these, then, become the fundamental attributes of who we are and the defining characteristics of how we go about the business of the Kingdom.  Or so it should!  If we have had an authentic salvation experience, then humility will be evident to others who are watching our lives.  Generosity will characterize our practices with money and possessions. We will eschew pushing and clawing our way to the top and serve our way into greatness.  And in a way that authenticates the totality of our claim to Christian faith, we willingly lay down our lives for others—not only in dying, but in the much more demanding sacrificial living.

That is the kind of greatness that endures—greatness in the eyes of God.

“The voice of humility is God’s music, and the silence of humility is God’s rhetoric.” ~Francis Quarles

What If God Took Over?

Openly and truthfully examine your attitudes and practices in following areas where the values of heaven and the demands of earth are in constant tension: 1) money and possessions, 2) recognition and position, 3) power and pleasure. What steps can you take to exhibit a more Christ-like response to these critical concerns?

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