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The greatest are those who consider others more important than themselves

When you are evaluating a church (or even a friend or a group of believers) which question (consciously or unconsciously) is most on your mind?

  • "How can this church benefit me?"
  • "How can I be of benefit to this church?"

Most people think in terms of the former - the pastor must be dignified and has to give good messages, the service timings have to be convenient, the location has to be close by, the church building must not be too shabby, the worship service has to be good, the people have to be well dressed but not snotty, the church must not ask for money too often, there must be people of your age group, the people must be friendly, there must be small groups, the children’s ministry must be good, and so on.

We forget that Christ was born in a smelly manger!

If you think like above then unless you change your way of thinking you will not be among the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Give this some thought because the change has to be fundamental (and by that I mean deep down).

Very few join a local church because they can be of benefit to that church!

We saw how being humble before God is required for greatness in the kingdom of heaven. Being humble among men is another requirement. To be great in the kingdom of heaven we must be a servant of others and consider others more important than ourselves. That is, we must put the needs of others before our own needs. Their time, and their money, and their comfort and convenience must be more valuable to us than our own!

Mk 10:42-45 42 Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, "You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. 43 But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; 44 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

Mt 23:11 "But the greatest among you shall be your servant."

Mk 9:33-35 33 They came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He began to question them, "What were you discussing on the way?" 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest. Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, "If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all."

Lk 9:46-48 46 An argument started among them as to which of them might be the greatest. 47 But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side, 48 and said to them, "Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great."

Now Jesus had already told them some time ago (see Lk 9:46-48 above) that the person who is the least is the greatest, but it didn’t sink in. So He had to keep reminding them. Consider Lk 22:21-27.

Lk 22:21-27 21 "But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table. 22 For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!" 23 And they began to discuss among themselves which one of them it might be who was going to do this thing. 24 And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. 25 And He said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ 26 But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant. 27 For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves."

Pretty much everyone in the church wants to be served. Yet, at the same time, pretty much everyone in the church wants to be great. That is because they have not understood that the servant is the greatest. Are you among your brothers and sisters as the one who serves?

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