Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.

Mark 10: 43-45

 

Many people spend a great amount of time and considerable effort in developing themselves. I know that I have and continue to do this very thing. It actually is good to have knowledge and skills. These are useful. Even the positions of leadership and influence that these acquired abilities support are valuable and worthwhile in both human and in Kingdom of God terms. So, I don’t think that Jesus was speaking against His people becoming leaders in our world, community, or other areas of life. It seems that His point is focused on how we conduct ourselves in life and on the way that we view our responsibility to all of the others that we meet as we travel through our days.

 

In other words, Christ wasn’t saying that we should seek to occupy only the lowliest of positions in our culture because positions of greater authority and responsibility will always corrupt the holder of the office. He is saying that the attitude that we need to have as we go about living life is one that we can see from His approach to His life among us. Jesus is God. He is the rightful and appointed King over this entire world. Yet, He agreed to set aside all of His position and apparent authority in order to live with and among us, to teach and demonstrate righteous living to us, and to sacrifice Himself for us. Christ was willing to serve all of humanity in a manner that was unknown before His life with us and that remains elusive to this day. His sacrificial service knew no limits or limitations. He cared for those who were close to Him and for those who despised Him and brought Him harm. Christ did this without regard for any of the distinctives, points of reference, or divisions that we routinely consult in placing value on others.

 

Jesus calls upon His people to follow Him. He meant that in absolute terms. There is nothing that He would have us hold back, and there are no people that He grants us permission to treat differently than He would. This is one of those areas where life as a follower of Christ gets hard, for I think that Jesus is telling me to repent for my attitudes of superiority and self-righteous pride. He says that I must stop viewing any others as lesser beings. So, I must submit myself to serving the needs of all others, and in Christ’s view, the greatest of those needs is for relationship with God. Jesus is calling upon us to love others without concern over their acceptance of our love, to bind up the physical and the emotional wounds that we see around us, and to give all that we have in order to bring the presence of Christ into the darkness of our world. Jesus is telling me that the best place for me to view the Kingdom of Heaven is while on my knees in humble submission to His will as I wash the feet of the stranger, the foreigner, the sick and the weak, and those who might angrily reject me.

 

You are members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure being joined together grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you are also being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Ephesians 2:19-22

 

In a world where people seem to be moving farther apart every day, where separation and isolation become ideals, everyone who knows God is also a member of His household. We each have a specially designed purpose to fill in that family, and we are each designed, shaped and placed in a manner that makes it possible to fulfill that purpose. This is true because God has given to each of us everything that we need to serve those around us right now.

 

However, He also does much more than that. He also continues to grow us, to build us into so much more than we were yesterday and than we are today. We continue to gain wisdom and knowledge of our Lord, and we are made stronger in our ability to use what we know. The person that we are, in Christ, is the dwelling place of God. The Holy Spirit lives in each of us, and His Spirit actively works in our lives. It is as if the hands of God are continually on us, and with great sensitivity they are working on our form so that over the course of a lifetime of living as followers of Christ, we are reformed into persons who by virtue of our love, connection, and interaction with others looks much more like our Creator.

 

The true expression of our new selves is found in the way that we interact with others. When we choose to defend the weak, support those who are injured, and bring love into the angry chaos that evil creates, we are bringing the face of Christ into those places, and we are providing the people that we meet with a look into eternity. The Lord calls to His children to bring His Spirit into the darkness around us, and He promises to use us to reclaim these places and the lives that inhabit them for His kingdom.