Day 36 – To Be the Greatest

Tough passages today.

Injury and property laws in Exodus. More of David’s praise after defeating Saul (lots of “You saved me from my enemy” verses). Prostitutes leaving men with a loaf of bread in Proverbs. Jesus laying it on the religious leaders in Matthew.

I really had to stare at the Scripture to see if anything landed on my meditation plate. Just this:

The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Matthew 23: 11-12 (NIV)

Matthew has emphasized the upside down nature of the Kingdom of God several times. I mentioned it before here. For Jesus, the way up is down and the way down is up.

However, we are in a culture that obviously exalts being the greatest. Oh, did I just watch the Super Bowl? And has my daughter not told me she wants to put out a famous YouTube video? And become a rich actress or sports star? [Note: I heard these ambitions a couple of years back – this daughter has now evidently outgrown such notions – I hope]

The fact is, I have some of that in me. Ok, maybe a lot. I share some of that drive to be on top. I was just at a work-related meeting where someone gushed over a minor little project I did (minor to me). I was inwardly irritated, “She thinks that’s all I do around here. She has no idea how much more capable I am.”  And I went a way, not feeling at all sick at my attitude (though I noticed it), but sick to be regarded as less than I am.

Frankly, sometimes I’d rather just be exalted. I don’t want to be self-forgetful. In fact I want everyone to know who I am!

If that’s the case, why is this blog anonymous?! Heck, I can’t even push it on my Facebook site! It’s anonymous so I can say anything. And right now I really don’t want anyone to know how ambitious I am and how sad I sometimes am not to have achieved my ambitions.

Then how do I willingly embrace Jesus’ humility? It’s evident to me that my desire for greatness is fueled in large part by a sense of worthlessness. If I become great, I will feel great. In fact, I talk about that here.

I know in my head that if I really KNEW how worthwhile I am to Jesus, if I really KNEW how much He loves me*, if I really KNEW satisfaction in my relationship with Him, I’d find rest from my strivings. I’d find rest in my humility. That’s the Holiday at Sea I Long for deep inside.

But sometimes I just want to be on top.


* Which is why I’ve been praying for deeper conviction of sin and greater appreciation of the cross.

Readings:  Exodus 21:1-22:31, Psalm 18:46-50, Proverbs 6:26-29, Matthew 23:1-22. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts.

One thought on “Day 36 – To Be the Greatest

  1. Pingback: Resources for Matthew 23:11 - 12

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