Striving for Power and Prestige

Reading with the Pastor
Mark 9  and  Psalm  45

Jesus with Children 2

Today’s reading comes back to a continuing theme in Jesus’ discipleship of the twelve (and of us). This wasn’t the only time that the disciples were caught arguing over which of them had more honor and prestige in the eyes of Jesus. Even on the night before he suffered, they were arguing over the same thing (cf. John 13 and Luke 22).

On that night He crawled around the floor and washed their feet to demonstrate that they should serve one another. On this day when He got inside the house in Capernaum He took a child into His arms and said serving children in His name was the same as serving Him. He is upsetting all of their perspective on what it means to be great in the kingdom. Still with the child on His lap, He continues to teach them and finally ends up with the sentence, “Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”

Mark 9:33-37, 50b (ESV)

33 And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35 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.” 36 And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”

“. . . Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”

We need these words today.

There is so much striving for honor, so much striving to make a name, to be a “somebody”, to be a “star”, to “stand out”. 

We swim in it every day. And it leaves its mark. The drive to be first, to be “important” is a hubris that needs to be kept in check. At least it does in my life.

And that’s why we need to hear Jesus’ words today.

“Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”

He had called the disciples the light of the world and the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13-16). Now He tells them (and us),

“Be content with who you are. Be salt. Make others thirsty for Me and be at peace. Be content to be a servant and don’t strive for a position. Serve. Simply serve, and you will be great.”

Benediction   (adapted from Psalm 45:17)

May God free you from the need to be anyone other than who He wants you to be.
May He be the cause of anyone remembering you and may you be the cause for many to remember and praise His name forever and ever.

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