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Mark 10:43-45

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Jesus flips the understanding of greatness. As James and John seek to be made great in Jesus’ kingdom, Jesus describes the path that they (and I) must take. It is the path of most resistance and great humility. The path to greatness in the kingdom of God is the path of humble servitude. The world says that greatness = how many people serve you. Yet, in the kingdom greatness = how many people you serve. The greatest personification of this is Jesus himself who could have counted equality with God and retained the throne, yet humbled himself to the point of becoming the servant of all. Jesus on the cross is the true image of greatness. Greatness, therefore, occurs when we die to our need and desire for it. Choosing to make others great in our place.

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I find this a really difficult paradox. Daily I struggle with ambition; ambition to succeed, to thrive and to achieve great things. This isn’t just for me, but for God as well. Yet God seeks to re-order my desires, to place the priority and love of others above my own priorities. To emulate Christ in becoming a servant of all. The truth is, I can’t do this on my own. I can only do this by humbling myself at the foot of the cross and choosing to die to myself daily.

Pray //

Jesus, the world around me teaches that ambition and selfish gain are good things. Sometimes I desire the worldly understanding of greatness, yet I know you have something better for me. Search me, oh God, know my thoughts. Identify the parts of my life where I am self-focussed. Transform my life to be used as a servant of others. For the good of the world and the glory of God. Amen

One Comment

  • Craig says:

    Great thoughts Mike. I like your definition of Kingdom greatness vs earthly greatness. I didn’t get that far in the chapter before i got caught on the story of the rich young ruler. More than that, Jesus saying in verse 27, “with man this is impossible, but not with God. With God all things are possible.”

    Explore:
    This story of the man with great wealth I think reflects God’s heart for anyone who values any self-made idol over God. Wealth, reputation, success or influence. Jesus wasn’t condemning the man for his riches, he was testing to see if his riches might be a stumbling block.

    Apply:
    What am I not willing to let go of in the pursuit of following Christ? If God pointed out my idols and asked me to destroy them, would I obey, or walk away sad?

    Prayer:
    Lord I don’t want anything to come between me and you. As scary as this prayer is, show me what those things are. Give me the strength to destroy them, so I can follow you.

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