Wednesday, October 30th, 2013
Roles, Ranks & Positions (Part 2)
Even The Best Are Tempted
Then a dispute arose among them as to which of them would be greatest.
Luke 9:46 (NKJV)
'Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your Right Hand and the other on the Left, in Your kingdom.'
... And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, 'You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave--just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.
Matthew 20:21, 24-28 (NKJV)
Being in this world but not of this world isn't easy. The desire for social acceptance can become a desire for social commendation. Social commendation takes many forms: For students, it might be a position of popularity like head cheerleader, class president, star athlete or valedictorian. In business, it becomes diplomas, titles, promotions, possessions, salaries and accomplishments.
In entertainment, applause can be like crack cocaine. The more you have, the more you want. To the unenlightened, success is spelled by four letters: f-a-m-e. Paparazzi chase you, fans mob you, money envelops you, covers feature you, designers court you, red carpets fly under your feet--and awards cling to your hands.
In churches, the words, 'Well done good and faithful servant... Enter into the joy of your Lord' (Matthew 25:23) can be transformed into similar words: 'Well done good and faithful leader... Enter into the joy of your position.' You deserve big houses, best-selling books, private jets and the enormous congregations that worship you.
Here's the thing: If the original disciples of Jesus were tempted toward positions of prestige, we can be tempted, too. Therefore: 1) 'Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves (Luke 22:26). 2) 'Be content with such things as you have' (Hebrews 13:5). 3) 'Go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, 'Friend, go up higher' ...For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted' (Luke 14:10-11).
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Roles, Ranks & Positions series.