With teenagers coming in and out of my house, I am constantly trying my best to keep up with new slang terms. Gone are the days of describing the latest crush with “He’s so fine.” Now we have acronyms that require Google searches to make sure that they are appropriate for use.
I was a little puzzled when one of my children said that a particular basketball player was on his way to being a goat in the sport.
“A what?” I asked.
“You know, Mom. G.O.A.T.” she said, “Greatest Of All Time.”
I responded with an enthusiastic, “Totally!” which garnered a little snicker from both of us.
This interchange reminded me of a conversation that Jesus overheard his disciples having regarding who was the greatest among them. According to the Gospel of Mark, Jesus had just predicted His death and resurrection for the second time. However, instead of pondering that mind-blowing revelation, they got to arguing over their position in the lineup of discipleship. To which Jesus just sat down and called a team huddle.
Yet instead of being frustrated with His human followers for arguing over such things, He gently redirected the conversation to a different way of thinking. He said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” (Mark 9:35) Jesus wanted them to take His example of serving others and make that their main focus instead of personal gain or achievement.
In this day and age, it definitely feels counterintuitive to lower our selfish ambitions in order to serve others. It’s not that He is opposed to our desire to be excellent in the job that He has called us to do or that He doesn’t want success to be granted. However, when that becomes more important to us than serving others, then it’s time for us to take a quick timeout in order to shift our focus.
We can serve others in a variety of ways such as leading a Bible study, supporting those who are missionaries, or simply taking the time to pray for a friend who is struggling. As we begin to lay aside our selfish ambitions in order to serve, we see an elevation in our position start to take place. And it’s all because we are willing to focus on following the one who truly is the Greatest Of All Time: Jesus.
This article originally appeared in LifeWay Women’s Journey Magazine – June 2020