Little Big Shots
Perhaps like my family, you have been delighted and amazed at the antics and skills displayed by the kids on Channel 7’s Sunday evening program, ‘Little Big Shots.’ There certainly is some big talent wrapped up in these little people with personalities to match. The theme of my last Religious Instruction class was True Greatness, where we explored the meaning of being great in the kingdom of God. It’s hard to grasp the concept that to be lifted up, we have to go down. I introduced our lesson with a couple of examples; Mother Teresa, and the Queen, who, in her 21st birthday speech, famously stated; “I declare before you all, that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service….”
Jesus taught his disciples in Mark 9:35, “If you want the place of honour, you must become a slave and serve others.” Ouch! “Whichever one of you is the most humble is the greatest.” Luke 9:48. Gulp! Not to mention those bits which tell us that the first shall be last, and the last shall be first.
Jesus and his disciples were on their way to Jerusalem. But this journey was different and the Master was reminding his close friends what lay ahead. The cross. He spelled out in detail what was to occur, (Mark 10:33-34) yet in spite of walking and talking with Jesus for about three years, these guys still didn’t get what his mission on earth was really all about. Living under the Roman regime, Jews would have been familiar with the sight of a ‘conquering hero’ where, with much pomp and ceremony, the victor enters the city to fanfare and acclaim. Was this the image in the mind of James and John as they took Jesus aside, asking for a favour? “Could each of us sit on either side of you, when you come into your kingdom?” J.O. Sanders in his book, Spiritual Leadership says; ‘They coveted a crown of glory but were not ready for a crown of thorns. Coronation interested them, but not crucifixion.’ Jesus had to tell them that they really had no idea what they were asking. That honour is bestowed exclusively by God the Father in the heavenly glory. It is reserved for the One who had come, “not to be served, but to serve.” It’s about laying aside earthly ambition, putting others first, and yes, even suffering.
Soon afterwards, Jesus demonstrated this graphically, by taking the role of the lowliest servant, and washed the muck off his friends’ feet. This was followed by the ultimate sacrifice when he laid down his blameless life for the redemption of mankind. Do I seek only accolades, recognition, honour, the title, the gold-lettered plaque on the door? Do I crave to be a Big Shot, or can I remain content as a Little Big Shot!
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