Who Is the Greatest?
33 Jesus and his disciples went to his home in Capernaum. After they were inside the house, Jesus asked them, “What were you arguing about along the way?” 34 They had been arguing about which one of them was the greatest, and so they did not answer.
35 After Jesus sat down and told the twelve disciples to gather around him, he said, “If you want the place of honor, you must become a slave and serve others!”
Last Sunday in the UK, we had the Sports Personality of the Year Awards. In a year of extraordinary sporting excellence, one person was chosen above all the others. Tomorrow the Strictly Come Dancing winner will be chosen. All have worked so hard and been very entertaining, it seems so hard to choose.
Society in general seems fixated by results. For schools, for companies, and now even operation success rates. All supposedly tell us who are the best – but don’t always tell us all the facts for you to judge the “success” or otherwise. We can all have apparently successful results if we never take any risks or take on challenges…
If you are going to decide who is “the best”, you are by definition also deciding who is not the best. Fortunately for us, that is not how God works. Just as God welcomes, accepts and loves me, so he does with every other person in the world – regardless of how much they might annoy me!
For God, there is no best, no winner. Or rather there is – but it is each and every one of us.
We are all, each and every one of us, you and me beloved of God.
And if that has meaning for me, then it has meaning for how I see others too. As much as I am known and deeply loved by God, they are too – and we should treat them as such. In God’s eyes I am the best – and everyone else is too.
How would our lives work out if we treated every person we encountered, and those we never meet, as the best person in the world? Because that’s how God sees them. How would that change their lives, and their behaviour? As well as ours? Surely that is on sure-fire way to make the world a better place.
in knowing how much I am loved by you
may I discover the belovedness of others.
May I see in them how special they are,
loved and known by you.
When I am grumpy
and quick to judge,
help me to remember
that in my encounters each day,
and the people I will never meet,
each and every person is special
– and may I treat them as such.
May I not push others aside,
or ignore them,
with my need to be special.
May I see everyone
through your eyes of love
This year for Advent, some friends and I are using Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen. You’re welcome to join us on this journey. Feel free to comment here, or on Twitter using #adventbookclub
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