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Mark 10:43-44

Posted 01/17/22, by Dan Vis

This week I want to talk about an aspect of Christianity that is not emphasized enough--at least not in my opinion. And particularly: the importance of having a servant's heart.

Jesus had much to say about service to our fellow man. And the hard part in addressing this topic was winnowing those verses down to just those few I have space to discuss. Clearly, it is a critical paradigm shift that should take place, or at least start, at conversion.

Consider for example this verse:

Mark 10:43-44
43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: 44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.

Here Jesus is basically saying that the Christian world and secular world operate on entirely different paradigms. The secular world functions from a mindset where those in power "exercise lordship" and "exercise authority" over their subjects (Matthew 10:42And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.). It's a system of force and control that benefits those in power. But Jesus was clear, Christianity should work differently: "so shall it not be among you".

In fact, Christianity is to operate on a reverse principle. Greatness is measured by our ability to minister to others. And the more elevated our position, the greater our obligation to serve.

(You can tell the authenticity of cultural Christianity at large by simply examining which paradigm it operates under--a desire for power or a desire to serve.)

Of course the disciples were not immune to the worldly way of thinking. In the previous chapter, Jesus had caught them arguing about who should be greatest (Mark 10:33-3433 Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: 34 And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.). And He was forced to clarify, that "if any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all" (Mark 10:35And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire.). This was the real test of true Christian maturity.

And to send that point home, He immediately "took a child, and set him in the midst of them" and explained that the real indicator of whether or not we were true believers was how we received the smallest and weakest of children among us (Mark 10:36-3736 And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? 37 They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.).

The disciples continued to wrestle with this their whole time with Jesus. And sadly, disciples still wrestle with it at times today as well. It's contrary to the world to humble ourselves, serve the weak and powerless, and for their benefit, without ulterior motive. To practice the Christian life, requires we maintain our independence from the values and priorities of the world. And that's never easy.

In fact, it's only possible with a new heart. A heart that esteems others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.). That doesn't look on their own things only, but also on the things of others (Philippians 2:4Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.). What's needed is the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:).

If you want to truly thrive in the Christian life, the key is to commit to living a life of service to others.

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