Jesus wanted to teach His disciples an important principle (principle like gravity – what goes up must come down). So, Jesus sat down – I think He sat on the ground, but that’s just me. I’m sure that when Jesus sat down, all of His disciples immediately sat down. By sitting down, Jesus’ body language was communicating that what He was going to teach would be in the form of sharing instead of lecturing. And what Jesus shared was about a principle of the kingdom of God. This principle was as accurate as any law of gravity. Here’s what Jesus said:
“Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”Mark 9:35
In my previous post, I had us consider:
“But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you.“Luke 14:10
The How and the Where
Jesus’ parable in Luke 14:10 is about choosing the lowest place so the king can elevate your position and do so in the sight of others. It may seem that Mark 9:35 conflicts with Luke 14:10, but notice in Mark 9:35 Jesus is speaking of serving; everyone has a purpose. God saved you for a purpose. We are told in James 2:17 that faith without works is dead. Our hearts and our perspective in everything should be “how can I facilitate help for the needs of others.”
We should facilitate help without consideration of our stature or place in God. I may be the senior pastor of a church of thousands, but I still should hug the poor guy with lice and pick up the chewing gum wrapper that I spot as I walk to my church. So, Mark 9:35 and Luke 14:10 speak of two different aspects of our life in the kingdom of God. Mark 9:35 talks about how we should serve and how God measures our service, while Luke 14:10 speaks about where God places us.
God Saved You For a Purpose
God has a purpose and ministry for every Christian; God gives each of us a people, a place, and a purpose for ministry. Your ministry may be praying for people while you’re in line at Walmart or thundering from the pulpit of a church, but we are not measured by where we’re at, but by how obedient we are to the call God has placed on our lives. Whatever God calls us to, we need to be mindful of Mark 9:35 and Luke 14:10.
God has rules for how we approach Him, receive from Him, and abide in Him. When God calls us to anything, we should take the least honorable position (Luke 14:10) – this doesn’t mean we should despise ourselves! By taking the lowest position, we gain the opportunity for God to call us to a more honorable place and to do so in a way that people see our promotion.
God promoting us is different from being a “servant of all.” Every Christian must express their faith through what they do each day (James 2:17). And we have learned from Mark 9:35 that our hearts should, without consideration for ourselves, ask God, “how can I facilitate help for the needs of others” and then do it!