Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Mark 9, verse 35.
Jesus is telling us “put Me before yourself and everything else.” Walk the walk in the most extreme walk possible. How’s that working out for you? Probably about the same as it’s working out for me. We suck at it. Now, we’re not going down a road of guilt-trips here. You know we’re both sinners and we fall miles short of the glory of God; we get it. But did you grasp the empowering challenge Jesus laid down?
You and I: we GET TO make ourselves servants. You and I: we get the opportunity to change, to turn the page on things that defined us before but we don’t need to let define us any longer. We GET to let Jesus remold us.
Jesus uses this moment to educate, to love on these twelve men who’ve pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to follow Him no matter what. They’ve been squabbling over the smallest of concepts: vanity. Who’s the best; who is most favored. Jesus catches them in the act and confronts them over it. When they blanch, He uses the moment to lay out a bold truth, then lay down the boogie and play that funky music (till He died, in fact).
“My friends, I’m the ball. Keep your eyes on the ball. If you want to be greatest, follow my lead and serve. Don’t just serve Me: serve Me by serving each other, strangers, those who hurt you, and anyone else I put in your path. When you do that, you’ll see how your focus on the small matters of life will become even smaller.”
Wow. Can you truly dig that? Everything that we value that makes us proud, that makes us feel accomplished and righteous is worth nothing compared to serving other people as God serves them.
“That’s all well and good, Dave. That was Jesus; then, not now. What about now?”
Same advice, my friend: keep our eyes on Jesus; keep our eyes on the ball. When we serve, we are modeling the way He as God selflessly serves us. He does it through the actions of others; He does it when the milk of human kindness flows. What’s more, Jesus serves us every single morning simply by our waking up and drawing breath. Every day is a miracle; the illogical, beautiful thing that is life is a constant miracle. Consider, then, how serving it is for the God who makes that life to give it to us free of charge. Consider further how He serves us by giving us a way out of the guilt of our countless sins through the serving sacrifice of His Son. If we keep our eyes on that, if we focus on Him and rebuild our redeemed lives around how He would have us live, then we don’t just have to become servants to model Him: we GET to become servants to model Him. We get to listen. We get to use our time to help. We get to be Jesus for others who may not know Him.
And in it, He is given glory. That is a tough challenge, one that most folks won’t take up. What’s it worth to you?
Jesus, I accept Your serving, blessed challenge. Teach me to be a servant today; help me to act more like You.
Read Mark 9, verses 30-36.