Today’s Bible reading is Leviticus 8 and Mark 9.
Mark 9 contains a reminder that most of us need to hear.
And they came to Capernaum. And when [Jesus] was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” (Mark 9:33-35)
FIRST is what many of us want to be. UP is where most of us want to go. GREAT is how we want to be regarded in the eyes of others. The ladder to fame, fortune, honor, and glory is scaled by those who put themselves first, who move up by whatever means necessary, and strive for greatness, whatever the cost.
But do you want to be “first” in the eyes of Jesus? The path isn’t hidden: be a servant. According to the Son of God, the way up is down. The way to be first is to put yourself last. The great in the eyes of God are the selfless servants with dirty hands.
Years later, Paul would encourage disciples of Jesus:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. (Phil 2:3-7)
“Have this mind among yourselves.” If anyone would be “first,” he must begin with the mindset of Christ. “Though he was in the form of God,” he came “not to be served, but to serve” (Matt 20:28). The way up is down.
How can you serve today?