May 31

Text: Matthew 18:1

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" (NASB)

Arrogance—something we despise in others but never recognize in ourselves.  In others, it diminishes character.  In us, it is the basis of ambition.  In others, it is an ugly detraction from “who they could be.”  In us, it a desirable “drive” that makes us “who and what we are.”

We live in a culture and society that honors competition.  Everything from class ranking to adult position in a company is based on being better than others—and being # 1 if at all possible!  “After all” (we say) “everyone should be good at something.”

Arrogance is easily exported.  Often in primitive societies we observe a sense of caring that ignores no one who is willing to be a responsible part of the community.  Provide a better lifestyle for those family units, a competitive way for them to make money, a few gadgets, and reasons that seek to justify personal greed, and those people quickly learn to be arrogant.  Neglect of others grows rapidly, people begin using people, and soon closeness even in family units becomes a thing of the past. 

No one should worry!  Why?  For this reason: Those primitive people are much more modern! 

The tragedy: we more easily can understand the “natural desire” of the disciples for greatness than Jesus’ emphasis.  God values the role of a servant—but we do not.  God values the person who puts the needs of others before self—but we do not.  God values the one who would be last—but we do not.  We value being  # 1 who is served and is given places of honor.

Too many would rather Jesus tell them how to be great with people instead of how to be great with God.  Sadly, we seem to be concerned with greatness before God only as we near physical death.

Suggestion for reflection: What makes you important to you?  (Read Isaiah 5:18-23.)

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