Monday August 3, 2020
Today’s Scripture: Mark 9:30-35
30 Leaving that region, they traveled through Galilee. Jesus didn’t want anyone to know he was there, 31 for he wanted to spend more time with his disciples and teach them. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies. He will be killed, but three days later he will rise from the dead.” 32 They didn’t understand what he was saying, however, and they were afraid to ask him what he meant.
33 After they arrived at Capernaum and settled in a house, Jesus asked his disciples, “What were you discussing out on the road?” 34 But they didn’t answer, because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest. 35 He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”
A couple of years ago I was really into the World Cup. I normally don’t follow professional soccer but for some reason I got into it this last time. One day I caught the match between Portugal and Spain. As I watched, the commentators became involved in a heated discussion about who was the GOAT, Christiano Ronaldo of Portugal or Lionel Messi of Spain?
At first, I thought they were talking about who smelled the worst after a match. However, I quickly learned (thank you Google) that GOAT stands for Greatest Of All Time. The debate was over who was the better player of all time – Ronaldo or Messi. (For the record I would say Ronaldo!)
Soccer, like most sports, is filled with super stars that get all the attention and press. And while I like to watch the super star perform at the top of their game like anyone does – it’s the utility player that really has my admiration. These are the guys who are not going to ever be GOATS, and yet the GOATS would never be where they are without them. They are the players who commit to doing their job, time after time, making sure the team is put in a position to win.
Sometimes in my life I compare myself to others. OK, I take that back. A LOT of times in my life I compare myself to others. Unfortunately, I also do this in my Christian walk. Why can’t I pray like that person or express theological points like that other person? Why can’t I love the way he does or know the Bible the way that she does?
But should there really be GOATs in the body of Christ? No.
In our passage from Mark, Jesus reminds his disciples that true greatness comes through being a servant. It’s not the flashy person with all the right words and the seemingly perfect life who’s the greatest. It’s the servant who keeps on serving – regardless of the accolades.
As you walk through your Christian life this week and in the weeks ahead I want to encourage you to keep the faith in the little things that make a difference. Love your neighbor. Put others first. Connect with God on a daily basis. And leave the GOATS for the soccer field.
God help us to not compare ourselves to others. And help us to focus on being a servant in your kingdom. Forgive us when we try to place ourselves or others on pedestals. And remind us that serving others in our greatest calling.