September 23

Mark 9:33-37

“But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest.” vs. 34

Those who listen to sports talk shows are accustomed to loud, opinionated men (usually) arguing about GOATs, just which athlete in any particular sport is the Greatest Of All Time. While that’s not particularly surprising in our sports obsessed society it is surprising to see that the same sort of conversation took place among Jesus’ disciples as they followed him along the way. These hand-picked men, intimately connected to Jesus, had actually been debating which of them was the greatest! Had they not been listening to him? At any rate, it didn’t take Jesus long to set them straight, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Of course we can’t be too hard on the disciples…we engage in the same petty rivalries, and not just in sports. We’re always looking for ways to measure greatness and have a dickens of a time remembering that the only thing that mattered to Jesus was serving. Of all the practices involved in discipleship this is perhaps the most counter-cultural. We pay lip-service to the idea but regularly show by our words and actions that our hearts are untouched. But some do get it! These believers find great joy in obscurity, never putting themselves forward, never seeking acclaim or reward. In them we see Jesus so clearly and by their presence we all are blessed.

Thought for the Day: How does our culture measure greatness?

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