Mark 9.35
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us – don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

–  Emily Dickinson

Our celebrity culture loves somebodies and banishes nobodies. We are obsessed with actors, athletes and, yes, even pastors. As a result, most of us – even if we are not egocentric maniacs – want to be somebodies. It may be for a fleeting moment, a few times a year, or every time we have to wait in line at a restaurant in the West Village. We long for “an admiring bog” to recognize us. Our culture says that we can become somebodies by, for example, having high Klout scores or attending prestigious universities. But what does the gospel say?

Jesus never criticized anyone’s quest for greatness. In fact, God made us in His image, and He wants our lives to be meaningful and significant. Yet something happened that distorted our pursuit of greatness. John Piper says that it has been corrupted into a longing not merely to be great, but “to be known as great” [1].

Even the disciples argued about who was the greatest among them. Jesus said, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” He then showed them that being the “servant of all” meant serving the biggest nobodies of all – children: “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.” Why children? Because children do not care about Klout scores or universities. They care about getting what they want and, when they do, they must be taught to give thanks. Therefore, as Piper concludes, “Children prove, more clearly than any other kind of people, whether you are truly great or not – whether you live to serve or live to be praised.” [2]

Lord, we often do not pursue true greatness by being servants of all. Instead, we long for “an admiring bog” to praise us. Forgive us and crucify our impulse of self-exaltation. For we know that the greatest Somebody who ever lived came to serve, not be served. Therefore, since we want to become somebodies in your kingdom, we long to become servants of all. Amen.

Christian Identity
Part 5 of 5,

Today’s Readings
Genesis 39 (Listen – 3:08)
Mark 9 (Listen – 6:16)


This Weekend’s Readings
Saturday: Genesis 40 (Listen – 2:10); Mark 10 (Listen – 6:42)
Sunday: Genesis 41 (Listen – 7:30); Mark 11 (Listen – 3:59)



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[1] John Piper. “Receiving Children in Jesus’ Name.” Desiring God. 23 February 1992. | [2] Scripture referenced: Mark 9.37