But it will not be like that among you, but whoever wants to be great among you will be your servant, and whoever wants to be first will be the slave of all. (Mark 10: 43-44)
When we have the mind of Christ, we have the mind of a servant. “For the Son of Man did not come to minister, but to minister, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (v. 45). Even him. That’s what his kingdom is all about, about sacrifice and service, about giving and sharing, about considering the needs of others at least equal to, if not greater than, our own.
It’s a nice thought, true, but it’s a difficult process. Why? Because we are used to thinking of our talents and gifts in terms of what they can accomplish for us. Very deep we want to move on. We are driven by ambition to achieve something, and sin has distorted that drive to make it selfish. Like the architects of the Tower of Babel, we want to build “a great city for ourselves. […] It will make us famous ”(Genesis 11: 4). Our coveted “city” is often an impressive reputation and accolade to those who recognize it. That momentum does not lead us to win naturally.
But Jesus never asked us to do what is natural. The mind that cultivates within us has nothing to do with selfish achievements. It will have speed and ambition, to be sure, but not in the direction we once sought. No, we will be consumed by the vision of a heavenly unit and we will realize that the only way to achieve it is by serving. We are not so concerned with our own reputation as with the Kingdom of God. Instead of creating a name for ourselves, we will create a name for your kingdom and it will be a humble and self-sacrificing name.
Jesus served sinners. We could learn from your example. In fact, we must. That’s an order. However, it is an order with an unexpected promise: this service is in great measure greatness in the kingdom of God. Just as self-interest draws us away from him and others, self-denial draws us closer to him. Our gifts and talents become useful tools for the benefit of others.
The only life that matters is the life that costs.
Lord, help me to recognize and be aware of the gifts that have been given to me, to use them fully to serve others and glorify your holy name. Amen