Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them.
Jesus told them, "In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called 'friends of the people.'
But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.
Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.
"You have stayed with Me in My time of trial.
And just as My Father has granted Me a Kingdom, I now grant you the right
to eat and drink at My table in My Kingdom. And you will sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.(Luke 22:24-30)
Don't adopt the attitude of the world around you. The world asks the question, "Who is greatest?" What is the pecking order? You have to defer to me because I am the boss. What I say goes! You don't have a say because you have no status. You have to defer to those of higher ranking.
"I have the higher ranking because I am the oldest."
"But you are just a junior partner in this firm, I am the senior partner."
"No, I have the highest ranking because I have the higher education – I have a 4 year degree. Yours is only a B.A."
"Excuse me, I have the higher ranking because I have 40 years of experience on this subject."
"I beg to differ, how many articles or books have you had published? I have written 10 books and 3 professional papers, so I think that gives me the edge here."
What exactly is the criteria for ranking? I have been in university circles where this game has been played out almost exactly as I have conceived the "conversation" above. Everyone jostling for position to prove they are the one who should take the prominent role. How ridiculous it is to play the Fame Game or the Degree Card. I think it is funny and love to play the game but in the reverse way. I play MY degree card and wait for the reaction and then smile inwardly. I have a Bachelors Degree in History and Geography and a Teacher's Training Diploma. I also have 2 years of training in Hebrew and Greek and Exegesis at a Master's level but I don't have a Masters degree because of the way the Lord worked out the plan. I was given a very unique training package but was told that I could not receive a Master's Degree as such because I hadn't fulfilled all the peripheral requirements. I said that is fine. I am more interested in the training than I am in the Certificate that goes with it. God opened the most amazing doors for me to do training that no one else has ever done. It's incredible but I don't have a Certificate to back it up. [If you want to know the full story ask me. Maybe if I get enough responses I will tell the story in Gems.]
I have taught at a university and had my names and credentials listed as Ian Vail (M.A.) for a seminar that I was participating in. I went to the Dean and told him my degree was listed wrongly. I have a Bachelor's Degree, not a Master's Degree. He smiled and said, "It's alright Ian we know you have got the goods." The next time we had a seminar at the university I was listed as Ian Vail (PhD). it's laughable. Again I "complained" and told him the listing was incorrect. At that seminar a lecturer at the university approached me among a group of people wanting to play his "degree card" against mine. Just to prove himself you understand. He asked me what I had done my dissertation on. I told him honestly I didn’t have a PhD degree, I had a B.A. He immediately turned his back on me and walked away much to the amusement of everyone else in the group. You can imagine my delight two years later when the Dean asked that same lecturer to put together a teaching programme but he couldn't do it to the level the Dean required. The Dean suggested he ask me for help to do it.
Don't chase the bit of paper or the Certificate. Seek the content and the understanding not the letters after your name.
When we look at the text before us, you will notice a lot of variation among the versions in the way verse 26 is translated. Some use the "lowest rank" as the NLT does in the reading above. Others use "youngest" or "younger", "least important", "the lesser", "the least", "the junior",
Let's consult the lexicon to see what the Greek term [νεώτερος] means.
1) recently born, young, youthful
A primary word, including the comparative (second form); “new”, that is, (of persons) youthful, or (of things) fresh; figuratively regenerate: - new, young.
Literally [neoteros] means the newest, the most recently born. Yay finally I have the clout to wield the club. Ha ha. In Asia as I increase in age people defer to me. But let me tell you, being the oldest doesn't necessarily mean being the wisest or having any idea what you are doing. As Jesus said "a little child shall lead them." I am so grateful to have started my Christian life in a church where the Pastor was always open to the Lord speaking through anyone in the congregation. He was a wise man. Even as he advanced in age he still had all his marbles too. (Faculties – ability to reason.) He was still able to cast pearls of wisdom. He has since died and now knows as he is known.
Jesus often advised the disciples to take the lowly place. Don't strive to be the top dog. Let those who insist on a pecking order sort themselves out and wait in amusement for the outcome like I do. When you have got your wisdom from God, your time will come to shine. But just remember it is not you who is shining. It is God. So don't steal the spotlight.
As I once told people at Cell Group and tweeted on Twitter the day after, don't seek after the wisdom of Solomon. Rather go to the source behind Solomon. Solomon gained his wisdom by confessing to the LORD that he literally didn’t know how to go out or to come in. He was 12 years old when he "became king". Talk about the youngest leading them.
I told Date Cell, any man who marries 700 women and has 300 concubines ain't as wise as he's cracked up to be. Go to the source of Solomon's wisdom. Learn to get your wisdom from the One who stands behind Solomon. Ask Him directly. Learn to hear His voice. The reason Solomon was so smart was that he went to the Source of Smart. God loves to use the smarts of the foolish to confound the wisdom of the "wise". Just make sure you position yourself on the right side.
"Now, O LORD my God, You have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn't know his way around.
And here I am in the midst of Your own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted!
Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern Your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of Yours?"
The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom.
So God replied, "Because you have asked for wisdom in governing My people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth or the death of your enemies—
I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have! (1 Kings 3:7-12)
Now that we have gone through all this preliminary comment, notice what Jesus says. "Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves." With this statement Jesus is very subtly shifted the goal posts. The expectation is that we are talking about being seated to dine and jesus is highlighting the difference between the disciples and those who waiting on the tables. That in itself is a big paradigm shift. I can imagine the reaction of some at the table thinking I am far above "that waiter". I am a disciple of Jesus. I am a servant of God, don't you know. Yes you have got that right. You are a SERVANT of God. Just take in the context in which Jesus is sharing these words. Before He said these things John tells us:
It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.
Jesus knew that the Father had given Him authority over everything and that He had come from God and would return to God.
So He got up from the table, took off His robe, wrapped a towel around His waist, and poured water into a basin. Then He began to wash the disciples' feet, drying them with the towel He had around Him. (John 13:2-5)
The lowliest servants in the household was the one to have to wash the feet of everyone. No one wanted that job. Now you have to admit that is impressive in a reverse kind of way. You too can be like that when you know whose you are and where you are going.
Continuing story next Gem.
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong. Paul of Tarsus 1 Cor 1:27
It is easier to get older than it is to get wiser.
A smart man only believes half of what he hears. A wise man knows which half.
What are you doing for God that He could not do alone? How kind of Him to use us. How wise of us to remember. Max Lucado
We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future. George Bernard Shaw
Only fools think they know all they need to know. The wiser we become the more aware we are of how very little we know. Rick Warren
Consider how much we have to learn to make up for what we keep forgetting. Bob Gass