SOAP reading for today: Psalm 121; Mark 9 and 10
S~ They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.’ Mark 9:33-35 (NIV)
…Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other. Mark 9:50b (NIV)
Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be a slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’ Mark 10:42-45 (NIV)
O~ These two chapters contain several conversations Jesus had with His disciples. In chapter 9, He finds the disciples arguing about which of them was the greatest (after Jesus just told them of His coming death). Perhaps Peter, James and John are feeling a little “special” after being the ones to see the transfiguration? In any case, Jesus teaches them that anyone who wants to be first must be last. He teaches them other truths and ends with ‘be at peace with each other.’ Later, Jesus again tells them of His upcoming suffering, death and resurrection. Then, James and John come to Him to request that they be seated at His right and left hand in glory! The others are indignant and Jesus once again teaches that to be great, each must be a servant of all.
A~ I think the disciples were having a hard time “getting” what Jesus was trying to teach them. I think I also have just as much difficulty with this lesson. The American culture promotes competition, winning, being the greatest and being number one. I would say this is highly valued in our culture. I don’t think our culture values humility so much. Sometimes I think it is even looked down on as a weakness. But Jesus says that the focus of a Christian should be to serve others and to be last not first. I struggle with wanting to be recognized and praised. I find myself wanting my church to be the “greatest”. I often want to be first in line, to win the prize or be the ‘best’ at what I do. But all of that puts the focus on me. I think Jesus was teaching that when our focus is on our Father in heaven, then we would want Him to be praised. We will want Him to be glorified even in our weakness. It is all about Him. Being the slave of all is not what most of us strive for. I am not even sure I know how to do that. But I want my life to give Him glory. I don’t want to be seeking how I can be the ‘greatest’ but how my life can show that He is the Greatest.
P~ Father, I can’t do this in my strength. I confess that in my flesh, I want to be the greatest. In my flesh, I want to be recognized and praised. But in my spirit, I want my life to glorify you. I want to be willing to be the servant of all. Please let your will be done in my life. Glorify your name in me. Lord, please let any good others see in my life and any good I do only bring glory to you. I pray that I will not receive praise but that others would see you at work in me and give you praise.
To read more SOAP notes for today, go to this link: http://discoveronething.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/november-1-psalms-121-mark-910