Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Servant to All

Mark 9:33-37 (ESV)
And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, "What were you discussing on the way?" [34] But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. [35] And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, "If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all." [36] And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, [37] "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me."

If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and a servant to all. The paradox of humility. Our culture has crown to have great respect for humility. Perhaps that is somewhat on the wane. But I do believe it is still generally true. It wasn’t always that way. Humility is a virtue not recognize everywhere. It definitely wasn’t one to be honored in the ancient world. People were expected to blow their own horns in the ancient world. As a sergeant once told me in my enlisted days, if you don’t blow it, no one will. Today we have the oddity of taking pride in our humility. Oh we try, at least at times.
Jesus teaches the disciples, that if they truly want to be great, then they need humility, they will attain greatness by serving others. So often we want others serving us, or just to be left alone to take care of ourselves. Funny, I often see old people who can no longer take care of themselves complaining that others are now taking care of them. They feel in the way. They feel like a burden, and often feel useless. I suppose it is humiliating to be in that position. To be at that stage in life, where as Jesus says, “others will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” Working with hospice gets you thinking about the gym, because you really don’t want to end up an invalid. Who knows if the gym will help you in that or not… But I think they often think of themselves as more of a burden than they are. And sure, maybe they aren’t doing a whole lot, but they are giving someone else something to do, and that shouldn’t be overlooked. But our pride gets in the way of enjoying our humility…. God didn’t make us to be self sufficient. He made us to live in communities with others. To take care of eachother. Jesus gives them the example of the Child. They weren’t loved in the ancient world. They weren’t respected. Not the way they are doted on today in any case. Jesus picks one up and says, here taking these in, receiving them in my name, you receive me.
We would run to serve Jesus. Or so we say. That is until our neighbor asks us to help him.

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