30 Days in the Bible, Day 6: Mark 10:42-45
Christianity often provides surprising answers to our questions. In His teaching, Jesus would use unexpected illustrations of divine truths, or would tell a story with an unforeseen ending. When we are confronted with teaching like this, it causes us to stop and think. We may have to reevaluate what we believe or how we act in light of what we find as we explore the Word of God, and especially as we confront the words of Jesus Himself.
One question that people ask is “How can I be great?” Whether it is about our family, our work, our status, or just our life in general, people want to achieve greatness. For some, the pursuit of this greatness effectively becomes their god, with everything else subjected to their thirst for recognition. Others define themselves by the way other people see them, and if they aren’t getting the acclaim they think they deserve it sends them into an angry or depressed state. Some simply look at where they are and define that as “greatness,” then stop moving forward in their lives.
True greatness can only come from recognition by the Lord. So when Jesus tells His disciples how they can be great in His eyes, we need to listen carefully. He tells them the greatest is the one who serves everyone else. This isn’t just a quick, temporary service, either; the word translated “slave” here means a bondservant, one who is obligated to serve another. So the way to greatness is through more service.
Imagine if everyone in the church started comparing themselves to each other not on their spirituality or prominence, but on how much and how humbly they served. There would be a constant desire to outdo your neighbor in your service. Of course, this would create a rather humorous contradiction, as the striving for greatness involved greater and greater humility!
Like our Lord, we should seek to serve, and to be willing to do any task with joy as we offer our labor to others and to the Lord. If Jesus could go to the cross for all those who follow Him, what service can be beneath us? If we are to strive for greatness, let it be measured in Jesus’ terms, not ours.