"And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, "If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all."" Mark 9:35
The four of them jogged past me as I stood in the kitchen cleaning up our lunch dishes. I could hear their conversation of what the next game would be that was on their agenda for the afternoon and how and where this game would take place.
The last thing I heard was each of them proclaiming their spot in the lineup for their upcoming game; "I'm first", "I'm second", but what got my attention out of the four of them was the eight year old boy winding up their caboose as he gently closed the door behind him happily proclaiming, "I'm last!" It touched my heart in a way he will never know or understand. Not at that time in his little life anyway.
To this day I can't read this scripture without thinking of that day. That scene runs over and over through my mind. He was just as eager to be last as the one was so proud to stake his claim at being first.
Jesus used a small child to illustrate servanthood and the attitude his disciples should carry. Genuine greatness would mean caring for and treating the most humble and insignificant among us with respect just like the child he held in his lap at that time. No one ever cared more about children than Jesus.
The disciples had been arguing over who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of God. They argued over their individual positions and Jesus overheard and addressed it in these verses (Mark 9:33-37). He used this opportunity to teach on genuine discipleship.
There were some grumblings going on between them after Peter, James, and John had been given a special opportunity to be with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration (Mark 5:35-42; 9:2-13). Jealousy ensued during and afterward, I'm sure. The bottom line being that Jesus clearly taught self-denial and humble submissiveness when following Him.
"When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, "Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me."" (Mark 8:34)
On an ordinary Saturday, in my kitchen, God taught me about being more humble and generous to others in my life through a child. His message has not changed.
I love you & He loves you more!
Lord, Thank You for the lessons we have all along our path when we are willing to slow down and be quiet. Help me to notice others more and place them first whoever they might be. I desire to be a true follower of Jesus by serving others. In His name I pray. Amen.