Tuesday, April 25, 2017

If You Want to be Great

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

We used to sing this Scripture song many years ago:

If you want to be great in God’s kingdom
Learn to be the servant of all

The very first set of commentaries I bought were written by R.C.H. Lenski. He wrote this: “great men are not sitting on top of lesser men, but bearing lesser men on their backs.” To that, Jesus would agree, “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant…” [Matthew 20.26]. 

When Jesus spoke about being great, He referred to genuine servanthood, not the kind of public service we see in many who use their positions for power and prestige. As a matter of fact, the word Jesus used for servant, referred to the lowest level of hired help. He could have chosen a more noble word, but He chose the word from which we get our English deacon, because it best described the selfless humility of one who served.

Jesus didn’t stop there. His next words took it even further, “…whoever wants to be first must be your slave…” [Matthew 20.27]. Being a servant is one thing, but being a slave is another ball game. Servants had some personal freedoms, slaves did not. Slaves worked at their master’s bidding. For Christ followers, the application is clear: “whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s” [Romans 14.8].

The Lord’s kind of greatness means you are willing to work in the hard place, the lonely place, even the unappreciated place. While there, you endure the suffering without self-pity or complaint, and work with excellence. When you do, one day you will hear, “Well done, good and faithful slave . . . enter into the joy of your master” [Matt. 25.21].

In God’s sight, greatness is marked by a humble, servant’s heart.

Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Matthew 20.26-28

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