There’s a great story in Mark 9:33-35. “They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
Can you believe this? They are walking with Jesus. They are following Jesus, and they are arguing about which of them was the greatest. Wouldn’t you have loved to have heard that conversation? In response to Jesus’ question…there is silence. Their lack of response was an embarrassed silence. It showed that they were ashamed of their obsession with greatness.
It seems that this was the favorite debating topic among the disciples. They all counted on Jesus to take over the world as King Messiah, and the debate was about who was most worthy to be Jesus’ chief associate.
Once the mother of James and John asked Jesus if, in His kingdom, her sons could sit at Jesus' left and right hand, in positions of power and authority. They were consumed with the idea of greatness.
But did you catch the last part? Jesus said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Apparently, God looks at greatness and the process of becoming great, just a little bit different than we do.
In God’s eyes, greatness is connected to serving. The path to significance is serving. The way to make a difference is by serving. So, let’s talk about serving.
Paul writes in “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)
It’s important to understand that we don’t serve to be saved; we serve because we are saved. It’s our response to the grace of God.
Throughout Scripture, we read again and again that we’re created to serve, we’re called to serve, we’re saved to serve, we’re gifted to serve, we’re shaped to serve. We’re commanded to serve.
Here’s what I believe. You cannot grow spiritually without serving. You can’t. Serving is the road to significance and spiritual growth. It’s not just coming to church and sitting and soaking it all in. That’s not moving you towards significance. That’s not moving you towards spiritual growth.
Your purpose in life is to be who God made you to be and to do what he’s called you to do. And God gave you gifts and talents and abilities and background and experiences and all these things for the benefit of other people, to be used in serving others.
We do this by making ourselves available and by being faithful to the opportunities God has brought into our lives.
Today’s Challenge: Live your life for one goal. It’s the greatest possible goal. The goal is to hear God say, “Well done…good and faithful servant.” Nothing else is more important. Be ready and willing to use whatever God has given you to serve him and others.
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