The First Must Be Last; the Servant of All – Mark 9:35

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

How do you measure greatness in people? For some it has to do with the size of one’s financial portfolio. For others it is their position in the corporate or political world. And for others it has to do with how many follow them on Twitter or Facebook. All of those, and many more, are measures of greatness in our culture.

But those measures that are meaningful in this world are meaningless in the kingdom of God. In this passage, Jesus turns the definition of greatness on its head. The standard of greatness in Jesus’ day was measured by the number of people who served you in some fashion. But Jesus’ definition of greatness was measured by how many people you yourself served. According to Jesus, the one who would be first must become last, the servant of all.

According to Jesus, it is not the pastor of the mega-church with a large staff and extensive campus who is great. Rather it is the nursery worker who wipes noses and bottoms. The one who serves, not only the little ones. But also their parents, allowing them to be a part of Bible studies and worship.

Don’t get me wrong here. I am not dismissing those whom God has placed into leadership roles within his church. But even they have been called to serve. Even Jesus, the Son of God, served his disciples and set us an example of service (John 13:12-17).

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