Every week in our church context, whoever preaches has the opportunity to write up a devotional for some additional study or reflection. Here is my last sermon and the devotion to go with it. Enjoy!
ENCOUNTER: Read Mark 9:33-37
I know many of us long to be more deeply connected to Jesus, to live the full and abundant life that comes from walking in the Spirit, and having a deeper sense of calling and purpose by having our identities wrapped up in being a beloved child of God. This is the best stuff of the Christian life!
When you take all this love and affection that is poured out over us and combine that with our sin nature, powered by our ego and pride, it is easy for us to get off the rails.
Many of us who have been around the church a while have found incredible ways to cover up our pride and ego. We are all about the humblebrag. But the humblebrag is not a new invention; it has been around since the first disciples. In fact, this passage comes from the disciples doing just that, laying down the humblebrag.
Who is going to be the greatest?
No, no. Not the greatest in the world, not great like Caesar, but great in the kingdom of God. The greatest contributor to the movement of Jesus. The greatest example of God's love and grace that is poured out on us. The greatest Christian!
Even in our efforts to honor Jesus, we still slip back into our old ways and try to find some wiggle room with simply living the beloved life, soaking up the love and grace of God, and having our fulfilled life be the testimony to the world. It is too bad that this desire and posturing flies in the face of scripture and the model of Jesus, the one whom we claim to follow.
Who wants to be the greatest? The greatest is the one who is the greatest servant. The one who is worthy of all dignity and respect gladly lays it all down, empties themselves, and serves others, putting other's needs above their own. The greatest is the one who considers others more significant than themselves and then acts on that.
If you want to be significant, if you're going to be great, then let us be more and more shaped by our Rabbi, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus was the most significant person in every room. Jesus is the greatest in all of the universe. And Jesus emptied himself and became a servant, obedient to the point of death.
And that is our invitation to greatness as well. Take that Jesus Juke!
Where is your significance or greatness questioned? When you feel slighted, overlooked, or disrespected, what rises up in you? What needs to die in you so that you can serve those people and be gracious in those situations? This is an impossible task and a total violation of our natural selves. So make sure part of your reflection is some time for confession as well as an invitation for more power and grace from the Holy Spirit.
BE A BLESSING:
Who is Jesus inviting you to serve today? It's that simple. Ask Jesus to take the blinders off your eyes and show you the person in your world that you can care for and serve. Then, just do it.
Sometimes, simply serving others in private is just way too costly. It is in our nature to humblebrag. So as we are developing our servant muscles, who is someone who you can share your successes and failures with to spur you on as you grow in this discipline?