It is embarrassing to be caught doing something you shouldn’t be doing or saying something you shouldn’t be saying. You may have been in a situation like me. A few years ago I was talking in a critical and unkind way about a guy and it turned out he was standing right behind me. I felt like the people in the Southwest Airlines ads—want to get away?
The disciples found themselves in just that kind of circumstance in Mark 9:33-37. They were caught by Jesus arguing about which of them was the greatest. He knew what they were talking about, as his following words indicate, but asking the question drives home the issue in a personal and powerful way. They did not know how to respond and so they remained silent.
Jesus called them to Himself to teach them. This is His lesson: that in the economy of the kingdom of God, greatness comes through humility and servanthood. The one who wants to be first shall be last, the servant of all. Then He uses a child as an object lesson. The one who is humble and a servant will have time for and be able to welcome even little children into his/her life. In fact, Jesus equates receiving such a child in His name with receiving both Him and the Father.
That’s a nice, safe, biblical lesson until you start to think through some of its implications.
–Are you ever disappointed when you worked hard on something and you are overlooked when those who were involved are thanked?
–Do you ever talk about your rights?
–When something needs to be done do you wait around for others to do it or are you the first to help?
–If someone calls you with a question or need while you are busy, do you become impatient or angry after you hang up the phone [because you certainly would not do it while you were on the phone]?
Perhaps Jesus’ words regarding humility and servanthood are meant for you today.