By Mark Shields
Jesus and the disciples traveled through Galilee and then into Capernaum. As we read Mark 9:30-41, the priority was to focus more on teaching so they became more secluded rather than available to the people. Again Jesus tells the disciples of His impending death but after three days He would rise. They continued to struggle with what Jesus meant and were afraid to bring it up.
During their travels, an argument ensued about being the greatest. Their concept of greatness was more in a worldly sense for the disciples including being a great military leader, a king, or person of great wealth. For Jesus, greatness was in being a servant. That anyone who wants to be first had to be last and servant of all (v. 35).
Most in society today see greatness in the same way as the disciples saw it. Being the best meant putting most of their time and effort into personal achievements like being a great student, employee, or boss but rarely equating greatness in the way Jesus describes here.
Jesus emphasized the need for us to have a servant attitude in our daily living with our friends, neighbors, spouse, or co-workers. By living with these characteristics, we would bring more to society than personal recognition.
Also into today’s passage, the disciples saw a person outside their group driving out demons in Jesus’ name and they told him to stop but Jesus told them not to stop him (v. 39). In the same way, there may be times when we are critical of others because they are a part of a group that looks at things differently or worships in a different way.
Jesus explains that whoever is not against us is for us (v. 40). If people or certain denominations do not worship exactly like we do, be thrilled that we can always feel a togetherness because of Christ. Individuals and churches may differ in convictions or practice but there is one common thread that binds us; the power of Christ in what we believe and how we live.
The Holy Spirit can include a wide variety of opinions and thoughts. Let us be able to empathize with others by accepting them. We can take the first step to setting things right or reconciling any differences. We can accept, appreciate, and affirm everybody because God meets us where we are and gives grace to all.
Grace is God’s gift and is always available like a flowing stream of water that keeps coming and coming. The photo below of a flowing Stream that was taken at Garvan Woodland Gardens near Hot Springs Arkansas.
This day with You Lord, we pray for being inclusive and know that a wide variety of opinions and thoughts are accepted. You meet us where we are and give grace to all. Help us today to accept, appreciate and affirm others with a servant attitude like You. Amen.