Sitting with the Shepherd
And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Mark 10:44-45 NKJV)
The greatest One of all chose voluntarily to be the least. The One who deserves glory, honor and praise chose humiliation instead. He showed us that the way up in God's kingdom economy is down! Those closest to Him on this earth were learning that lesson in this passage of scripture. Is it wrong to desire to be a powerful influence of God's Kingdom on earth? Certainly not, the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few. But it is wrong to employ worldly methods and fleshly motivations to attain that end. Great men and women of the faith have discovered the futility of self driven ministry and learned the power of the crucified life. These include Hudson Taylor, Amy Carmichael, Oswald Chambers and Andrew Murray just to name a few. The Apostle Paul wrote about the frustration of the self-driven life in Romans 7:18 -25
And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can't. I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don't want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God's law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God's law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. (Romans 7:18-25 NLT emphasis added)
In the end, he cried out to Jesus Christ as the only one that could save Him from this wretched condition. We know that he was a believer because he said that "he loved Gods law with all of his heart." But like many who have Christ in his life, self was on the throne. The Apostle Peter had to come to the end of self after he denied Jesus three times on His way to the cross. God couldn't use Peter mightily until Peter wept bitterly!
The cross was not for Jesus Christ, but for us. WE died with Him on that darkened day that we now call Good Friday. But as He rose three days later to live in us, we were endowed with Resurrection Life. So while others seek fame and grandeur, effective kingdom workers are those who allow Him to serve others through them.
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, (Romans 6:4-5 NKJV)
Questions for Personal Reflection or Discussion
1. How did Jesus' concept contradict what his closest disciples believed was true?
2. What failure has God allowed in your life to demonstrate the insufficiency of your most valiant self efforts?
3. Who will you allow God to serve through you today?
My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, thank You for dying on the cross that You might come in the Person of the Holy Spirit and live Your life through me. I confess Lord that my most valiant efforts have been futile at best. I hereby offer my new life as a living sacrifice to be used by You in whatever way that You desire. Amen