Why does it always seem to be about us?
Mark 9:34 – But they were silent, for on the way they had argued about who was the greater.
How can the disciples be arguing about who is the greatest among them when they are in the presence of God incarnate? One of the things that is so captivating about reading the Bible is about how spot on it is in capturing human tendencies. Here we have a text describing behavior taking place in approximately 33 A.D. and yet if feels like is describing the everyday life of today. It is a behavior that prevents us from seeing the glory in God and instead seeking glory in ourselves.
We are a nation made of people craving recognition. Just look at our sports, at our television programs, at our social media, and the shelves of self-help books in bookstores, and you can see the drive in all of them to be number one. I am not saying that the pursuits of having ambition and maximizing one’s potential are not important, but are those pursuits being done within the light of Jesus Christ. Are you growing your potential and talents to be a blessing for God’s earthly Kingdom, or is it solely for personal gain? How does God fit into our pursuit of our vocations? I think this is a hard question for American Christians and European Christians to discern with our cultures.
In looking at the context of the disciples as described in Mark 9, the disciples had just failed in being able to heal a boy (9:14-29) and Jesus has just told them for the second time that he will be put to death (9:30-32). They were arguing about which one of them was the greater after having just failed at trying to heal someone outside of Jesus’ presence. Then Jesus reinforced the point to the disciples that his earthly presence among them as a man was soon to be over. Instead of turning to Jesus, while they had him right there with them, and asking him about what their role in would be caring for the lost and poor after he was gone, they turned the focus on themselves.
In our lives today, while we are pursuing our ambitions and our potential, we need to turn to the Father, the Son, and to the Holy Spirit and ask, “what are our roles in seeking the lost, helping the poor and people who have been marginalized on behalf of God?” This question is appropriate for people of all ages – kids, teenagers, younger adults, and older adults. We can never think we are too young and too old to seek that answer for our lives. We first must acknowledge and seek connection to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in our lives. Instead of focusing solely on our path, we must seek God’s path. Once we are on that path, then we can turn for guidance on how to be asset for God in his Kingdom. Don’t let pride cause you to stumble.
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