Daily D – Luke 9:46
An argument started among them about who was the greatest of all.
LUKE 9:46 (CSB)
I am part of a tribe of Christians who like to fuss and fight about who is The Greatest. Who is The Greatest Theologian of History? Who is The Greatest Leader of Churches? Who is The Greatest Believer in the Bible? Who is the Greatest Preacher?
We waste a lot of time arguing about this kind of stuff. We plan all year long for the Big Event in the summer where we can all gather and use the machinery of secular politics to achieve supposedly spiritual ends.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Shortly before today’s verse Jesus had said, “It is necessary that the Son of Man suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised the third day,” (verse 22). Not long after that he said, “Let these words sink in: The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men,” (verse 44).
Death and resurrection should have been a topic worth pursuing for disciples of the man who was going to suffer and die and live again forevermore. Instead, they were focused on who was the greatest and what the pecking order would be behind him.
Just after Jesus spoke the final word on how greatness is measured in the Kingdom of God (verse 48), a new problem popped up called rivalry. John, the disciple who would later display the most tender of hearts said, “Master, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him because he does not follow us,” (verse 49). This is the same guy who would soon ask if Jesus wanted him to call down fire from heaven to kill some people (verse 54).
Jesus said, “Don’t stop him, because whoever is not against you is for you,” (verse 50).
Greatness is measured by simplicity and wonder. Progress is measured by collaboration with like-minded souls.
Greatness is not about awards and rewards and positions of power. Progress is not about how many followers and friends, retweets and likes, we gather on social media.
Greatness is about helping others see who Jesus is without them having to walk through our personal filters to get to him.
Progress is about working together with others on the same journey working toward the same goal.
Pride of place and personal rivalry are not measures of greatness or effectiveness in the Kingdom of God. They are our adversary’s tools to separate us into competing camps. They hinder our Father’s work in this world.
Let’s take a lesson from John. On the other side of Jesus’ death and resurrection, he wrote a Gospel all about love. Then he wrote three letters (1, 2, 3 John) all about love. His favorite description of his fellow believers? “My little children,” (1 John 2:1, 12, 14, 18, 28).
It took the death of Jesus to shift John’s perspective. God’s love drives out our need to be in charge. God’s love drives out our need to wonder about the devotion of others. God’s love drives us to enlarge his family. God’s love drives us to simplicity and wonder, collaboration and cooperation.
I will stop competing and start cooperating.
Our Father, please forgive me for getting too big for my britches. Please forgive me for taking sides. Give me the simplicity and wonder of a child. Give me a cooperative nature. Remind me as often as necessary whose kingdom this is. Amen.
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Genesis 26:26-31 Meanwhile, Abimelek had come to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his personal adviser and Phicol the commander of his forces. 27 Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to me, since you were hostile to me and sent me away?”
28 They answered, “We saw clearly that the LORD was with you; so we said, ‘There ought to be a sworn agreement between us’—between us and you. Let us make a treaty with you 29 that you will do us no harm, just as we did not harm you but always treated you well and sent you away peacefully. And now you are blessed by the LORD.”
30 Isaac then made a feast for them, and they ate and drank. 31 Early the next morning the men swore an oath to each other. Then Isaac sent them on their way, and they went away peacefully.
Genesis 22:13, 14 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.
Genesis 21:1-3 Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him.
Genesis 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless.
Genesis 6:9 This is the account of Noah and his family.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.