“And He told them, ‘Whoever welcomes this child in My name welcomes Me. And whoever welcomes Me welcomes Him who sent Me. For whoever is least among you – this one is great.” (Luke 9:48)
An argument erupted among the disciples of Jesus. He had told them He was going to be betrayed. They didn’t get it, but they did perceive that they would soon be going up to Jerusalem where Jesus at last would make the big announcement: the Messiah had arrived! For them, this meant that the kingdom was about to be established, and they would soon move into a ruling role. That being the case, they needed to figure out who was going to be the leader, who was going to be in charge, who would sit at Jesus’ right and left. So the argument erupted as to who would be the greatest.
Imagine some of the possible assertions that could have been made. Peter: “Well, I’m the biggest and the strongest, and I don’t mind speaking my mind.” Andrew: “Well, I’m the one who told you about Him to begin with!” James: “I’ve got what it takes to make snap decisions.” John: “Maybe, but I’m closer to Him, and I understand His heart.” Thomas: “We’re all going to die, you know, soon as we set foot in Jerusalem.” Judas: “You’re all stupid. I’m the only one who has any management sense at all. I’m the smartest of the lot.”
Enough. Jesus had a child stand in their midst. Then He pointed his disciples to some characteristics of great leaders. Great leaders do not focus on “me first” but on serving the needs of the kingdom and the needs of even the least of those in the kingdom. Great leaders are willing to take the least position if that is what is needed to advance the kingdom of God. Servanthood and humility are the modes of greatness.
Lord, Help us today to practice servanthood and humility, not to be great, but simply to join You in Your work. Amen.