Mark 9:35 - The Paradox of Greatness.

Mark 9:35 - The Paradox of Greatness.

Mark 9:35 (KJV)  And he sat down, and called the twelve, and 
saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last 
of all, and servant of all. 

This memorable saying is another of Jesus' paradoxes. [College 
Press NIV Commentary] 

Greatness out of service (30-41). This is a key passage in 
Mark's gospel because it emphasizes the importance of service. [Chapter 
by Chapter Bible Commentary by Warren Wiersbe] 

The kingdom of heaven is essentially a matter of rendering 
service to God and to one's fellow men, not of receiving it from them. 
True love is essentially a matter of giving love rather than of 
demanding it. He is greatest who loves God and his fellow men most and 
serves them best. [SDA Commentary] 

When Jesus spoke of the supreme greatness and value of the man 
whose ambition was to be a servant, he laid down one of the greatest 
practical truths in the world. [Barclay Commentary] 

Jesus told them that if they sought for greatness in his Kingdom 
they must find it, not by being first but by being last, not by being 
masters but by being servants of all. It was not that Jesus abolished 
ambition. Rather he recreated and sublimated ambition. For the ambition to 
rule he substituted the ambition to serve. For the ambition to have 
things done for us he substituted the ambition to do things for others. 
. . . [Barclay Commentary] 

Think of the rights Jesus possessed: He was the Son of God, 
Creator of the world; "equal with God" (Philippians 2:6); "in the 
beginning with God" (John 1:2). And yet He chose to be born in a stable--to 
spend His life not lording it over kings, but reaching out to 
society's outcasts.  Though by rights He could have enjoyed the privileges 
of royalty, He "made himself of no reputation and took upon him the 
form of a servant, and . . . humbled himself and became obedient unto 
death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:7-8 ). And in doing 
so, He was modeling His own instruction to the disciples, "If any 
man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant 
of all". [Your Daily Walk SB] 

We sometimes think that power comes only through aggressive 
self-promotion, but Jesus made it clear that this was not so. He explained to 
his disciples very bluntly that power and authority in his kingdom 
is based on servanthood. 
Dee Jepson, who served as an assistant to her husband, a U. S. 
senator, quickly became aware of the power-hungry atmosphere of 
Washington, D.C. Political wheeling and dealing was the name of the game - 
always with an eye on gaining influence with high-ranking officials. 
Jesus' message of servanthood seemed entirely out of place, until one 
day when Dee observed an honored guest's visit to the city. 
"The unimportance of sophistication was brought home to me," she 
writes, "at a Capitol Hill luncheon for Mother Teresa .... In came this 
tiny woman, even smaller than I had expected, wearing that familiar 
blue and white habit, over it a gray sweater that had seen many 
better days, which she wore again to the White House the next day. As 
that little woman walked into the room, her bare feet in worn 
sandals, I saw some of the most powerful leaders in this country stand to 
their feet with tears in their eyes just to be in her presence." 
"As I listened that afternoon, I thought 'Don't forget this, 
Dee. Here in this little woman who doesn't want a thing, never asked 
for anything for herself; never demanded anything, or shook her fist 
in anger, here's real power.' It was a paradox. She has reached 
down into the gutter and loved and given. She has loved those the 
world sees as unlovable - the desolate, the dying - because they are 
created in the image of the God she serves. Ironically, seeking nothing 
for herself, she has been raised to the pinnacle of world 
recognition, received the Nobel Peace Prize, and is a figure known to most 
people, at least in the Western world, and revered by many. She has 
nothing, yet in a strange way, she has everything." Stories of Faith by 
Ruth A. Tucker [Inspirational SB] 

The Lord sure knows how to get right to the heart of things!  It 
seems He's trying to let us know that our purpose while on this earth 
is to bring honor and glory to Him.  If that was the desire of our 
hearts, we would not be concerned with being first.  What do you desire? 
 Do you strive to be the best in your field?  The most noticed in 
your neighborhood?  The most talked about at your church?  How often 
do you ask yourself, "How does what I am doing bring honor to the 
Lord?"  None of us desire, in the natural, to be last and to serve 
everyone else - but some will be doing just that some day.  It depends on 
what our heart desires now!  Do something about it. [In His Time; 
Walk With Wisdom] 

The Father in heaven is so interested in His child, and so longs 
to have his life in step with His will and His love, that He is 
willing to keep the child's guidance entirely in His own hand. He knows 
so well that we do not do what is really holy and heavenly, except 
when He works it in us, that He intends His very demands to become 
promises of what He will do, in watching over and leading us all day 
long. We may count on Him to teach us His way and show us His path not 
only in special trials and hard times, but in everyday life.... [Time 
With God SB] 

Service is a gift of love to people given in gratitude for God's 
gift of love to you. [Your Daily Walk SB] 

If we fail to help the people who are in need, we are pushing 
Jesus right out of our life. [Life Recovery SB] 

True greatness is in serving others rather than outdoing them. 
[Word In Life SB]