Mark 9:35-37 And he sat down and called the twelve; and he said to them, "If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all." And he took a child, and put him in the midst of them; and taking him in his arms, he said to them, "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me."
There is a great deception regarding this text – for if someone asks who wants to be first, there are very few volunteers – so much so that it might appear that this text applies to someone else. But if the question asked is who wants to be a millionaire, most people seem interested. And there are other questions, who would like to be more healthy, who would like to be more popular, who would like to be wealthier, who would like to have more power – which all point to a central question, who wouldn’t like to have more – and that points yet further, to the real question – who is really happy with their present life?
That’s the problem, and it’s a problem because if you are not happy with your present life, then there is something telling you that some how God has let you down, that God really hasn’t provided for you that well – and perhaps there is a better way to a fuller life. And that something telling you such lies is probably the devil. And here’s the funny thing, most people have no trouble following the devil, and his plan for your life, and learning everything he says is important – but when in comes to the things of God, no one seems to have much time for it. We have heard God ask, who wants forgiveness of sins, who wants peace with God, who wants eternal life – he just didn’t ask who wants to be a millionaire.
Now the devil has a good thing going, because every one of his plans has all kind of things you can do, and you will be very busy and you will be able to tell everyone about all the important things you were doing this week, and how this is going to change your life. This is why the present evil continues to grow, for when the devil gets someone to follow him, he doesn’t need more devils, for everyone who goes the devil’s way is out there recruiting more and more followers, and whoever gets the most – they’ll be first. So friends become people you can exploit, and the best friends are those who can do the most for you.
Now God also has a plan, and as he gathers people, he calls them to share with all what God has done. And so there are many Christians, who hearing God’s plan, just don’t get very excited – for if salvation is a free gift, and if God has already done everything, then perhaps it is something we just don’t need today, perhaps we can come back to it latter.
Welcoming a child, someone who can’t do anything for you – why? Well that is an example of God’s love for us, and if that love of God reigns in our hearts, then we will do things to the glory of God, without concern about how this will profit us. But there is that funny thing, that when we do those things which don’t seem to be of profit, that we receive the greatest benefit – for when we welcome a child, we are welcoming Christ, and in welcoming Christ, we are welcoming God Almighty – and that is of great benefit, for God can do anything, and has done everything to bring us to salvation in Christ Jesus.