The Key to True Greatness
“Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:43-45
We live in a society that seems to value greatness. Think about the people who are considered “heroes” or are revered by others. Often they are people who have attained some level of fame and fortune. Others tend to “worship” these people and want to serve them in some way just to be in their presence. God’s idea of greatness is so different from what we see in the world around us and He even provided His Son as an example of living a life that leads to greatness.
When we read the verses above, do we really understand the kind of life God desires for His children to live. He first states that to be great requires us to be servants. When you think of a servant, what picture comes to mind? Do you see a butler or a maid always ready to be available when called? Maybe you picture a waiter or waitress who does all they can to meet the needs and wants of those they serve. Although these are pretty typical examples of a servant there is another definition that may fit even better, a servant is a devoted and dedicated follower. We are called to lay aside our preconceived ideas of what greatness and life is and devote ourselves to God and what He has for us. This is not an easy task and we often find ourselves falling short and yet this is the life God desires for us as His children.
Next we read that if we want to be first we have to become a slave to all. There are other verses in the Bible that talk about us being a slave to God but this verse gives us a different picture, one that involves us not only willingly becoming a slave to God but choosing to also be a slave to others. This is a foreign concept in the times we live in. Almost everything we are exposed to tells us that we have rights and we don’t have to yield to anyone but God tells us we should willingly submit ourselves to others in order to attain His greatness. If we are to follow this instruction we are going to have to change our mindset and allow God to give us the strength to be slaves.
The last part of the passage above provides us with insight into how we can truly obtain greatness. The Son of Man, Jesus Christ, provided the ultimate example of living a life that demonstrates the key to true greatness. He humbled Himself and left the splendor of Heaven to be born here on earth. Although He was the Son of God He did not expect others to serve Him, He served others. Throughout the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) we see Jesus serve others over and over. Jesus had every right to demand that others worship and serve Him but instead He was the one serving them.