Who’s the Greatest?

Luke 9:46-48 describes an ugly situation where Jesus’ disciples argued about which one of them would be the greatest.  The pride in our flesh makes each of us want to be great in some way.  However, Jesus’ response was to have a little child stand beside Him.  Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.  For he who is least among you all—he is the greatest.”

How can the least among us be the greatest?  Well, one of the virtues at the very heart of Christianity is love.  God loves us (John 3:16) and we are told not only to love God, but also to love others (Matthew 22:36-40).  Love is always unselfish, and it’s never self-seeking (1 Corinthians 13:5).  Love is about sacrificing our own self-interest for the welfare of others.

So, Jesus was saying that the greatest believer is the one who is best at elevating others above himself, and who considers himself to be the least important among us.  He is the greatest because he considers himself to be the least.  Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”

If we really believe that others are better and more important than we are, then our attitudes will be very humble.  We will want to serve others by giving credit where credit is due.  In man’s eyes we will appear to be the least, but in God’s eyes we will be the greatest.  So, if we see someone claiming to be the greatest, we can be sure that he’s not.  The greatest among us are difficult to find.  They usually work somewhere behind the scenes, serving others, and claiming nothing for themselves.

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