Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

Mark 9:35 NIV

Greatness in God’s kingdom is not about pursuing titles or trying to make your own name great.  It is about humility and living the life of a servant.  The apostle Paul who would be considered by some to be the greatest servant of the gospel continually referred to himself simply as a bond servant.

The apostle Paul was chosen by the Lord to be an apostle.  He began his life trying to destroy the church and the gospel and in the end wrote a majority of the New Testament.  He was a man of prayer and understood the heart of God.  He was simply willing to lay down his life for the sake of the name of Jesus.

We have many today who are in ministry to glorify themselves.  They use the name of Christ and masquerade as messengers of the gospel.  But when you examine their message against the truth of scripture you find that it is distorted and compromises the gospel.  They are popular because they tell people what they want to hear and some believe them to be great because of their popularity.

But popularity and a large following never defines greatness in God’s kingdom.  One of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament was rejected throughout his ministry.  Jeremiah faithfully served the Lord, but his message was often rejected and many times the people tried to kill him.  At one point Jeremiah told the Lord he didn’t want to do it anymore but Jeremiah found that the word of the Lord was like a fire shut up in his bones.

If we desire to be great in God’s kingdom it requires a life devoted to prayer and the diligent study of God’s word.  It requires a life that is willing to sacrifice and lay everything down for the name of Jesus.  It requires humility and having the attitude of John the baptist in which we desire to decrease that He may increase.  It simply requires that we be willing to deny ourselves and die daily to ourselves and pick up our cross.

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