Reading: Mark 7-9
…on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” Mark 9:34-37
On learning that his disciples were discussing who was the greatest among them, it's interesting that Jesus doesn't rebuke them for this. Rather he explains to them what constitutes greatness in the kingdom of God, and it is clearly not what they were thinking. Greatness in the Kingdom allows no room for pride; rather, it stems from humility. It takes the opportunity to serve and delights in allowing others to go first. It is not self-promoting, but instead leaves God to promote as he sees fit. It seeks not the adoration of men, but rather, the approval of God.
Some of the greatest people in the Kingdom of God may be those whose deeds are unknown by the world, but, “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.” Matthew 10:26
I enjoy being recognised for doing something well. But being able to enjoy the moment with my Father in heaven, and then “chew the fat” with him afterwards – that is a very great privilege. Enjoying the warmth of his approval frees me from the need to have the approval and affirmation of others. To please him in everything I do, knowing that he sees all I do, and knows what is in my heart – this should be my number one priority. Whatever job he has for me is the job I will put my heart and soul into, whether that job be great or small.
Thank you Jesus for your wonderful example. Help me to delight in serving others, and in knowing that as I serve, I am bringing pleasure to you, my King. I look forward to the reward you have for me. My life is in your hands.
Yes, the title of this SOAP was rather grandiose, wasn't it! “Simon the Great!” I had a good laugh with God about this one. Have you tried using SOAP in your own times with God? It's a great way to listen to God as you read his Word. You can learn more about SOAP here: What is SOAP?
Reading: Isaiah 54 – 55
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Isaiah 55:1 (NIV)
This chapter contains the special offer of a lifetime, an invitation directly from God to us to come to Him and be satisfied, at no cost to ourselves. The generosity of the invitation is unquestionable. We can enjoy God's faithful love, and our souls the richest of fare. All we need do is turn from our sinful ways and our selfish thoughts and turn to the LORD, and he will freely pardon. The outcome of this will be joy.
This requires a new way of thinking. We come to a generous and good God who has purposed in his heart to show us His grace, and his plans will surely come to fruition.
Just as thirst and hunger are things I experience every day, and satisfy with water and food, I can expect to feel spiritual hunger and thirst often. This is normal. How amazing that God invites me daily to come to his dining room, to eat at the king's table, and there satisfy my hunger and quench my thirst. But what does this mean in practice?
To come, to seek, to listen, to give ear, to forsake old ways and turn to God, to draw near expectantly, to dig into his Word, to reach out to him. It's up to me to “eat what is good, and my soul will delight in the richest of fare.” Isaiah 55:2
I am so privileged Lord to be invited to your table. May nothing else satisfy my hunger and thirst. I most gratefully accept your generous invitation. May your thoughts become my thoughts, and your Word truly accomplish what you desire my life and achieve the purpose for which you sent it.