Have you ever felt like something was beneath you? I remember volunteering with an organisation once, and all they gave me to do was rip the edges off pieces of scrap paper. To this day I still don’t understand why I was there, but Jesus clearly understood His purpose here on earth. “If you want to be great, you must be the servant of all the others. And if you want to be first, you must be everyone’s slave. The Son of Man did not come to be a slave master, but a slave who will give His life to rescue many people” (Mark 10:43-45) or, as another version puts it: “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45).
Surely, that must have been a temptation for Jesus – to feel like this was beneath Him. He left the glory He had with God in heaven and came down here, to serve us. He taught; healed diseases; even washed people’s dirty feet, and it was after this that He said: “No servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them” (John 13:16-17). In other words, Jesus has served, so it’s up to Christians to do the same; we shouldn’t expect to get out of it. Jesus is our Master. Doesn’t any athlete strive to follow what their coach tells them? If you’re looking for true greatness, it may well involve humbling yourself, and being willing to start at the bottom.
I was reading Mark 9:33-37 this morning and just love the picture it paints. It says that after Jesus and His disciples settled in a house, He confronted the argument they were having earlier about who was the greatest. Then Jesus put a little child among them, embraced the child, and told how welcoming a child also welcomed Him.
Now, when I thought before about Jesus calling a child and having this conversation, I imagined it outside somewhere, and the child being called out from a huge crowd … but Mark says they were in a house. The child was probably one of the family they were staying with, whom Jesus brought in from the next room. Sounds so ordinary and so homely to me.
Have you ever imagined Jesus as one of your family, taking your child in His arms and using them to get His message across? That’s what Jesus wants to be: Part of our everyday life, and He can use children to teach us things about Him that we might otherwise miss in all the busyness.
A friend once told me about when she took her little boy to the bakery. As she chose her shopping, the boy said: “Mummy?” He waited and tried again. “Mummy, God’s trying to talk to you.”
“Oh? What’s He trying to say?”
“That He loves you.”
It brought a smile and a “Bless!” from the woman behind the counter, and I think a reminder to all of us to stay on the lookout for God’s love and care … even when we’re choosing cakes at the bakery.