When Last is Better Than First – Mark 9:35

last-in-line“If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35, ESV).

We live in a success-oriented society. So all you high achievers may want to know how you achieve success in the Kingdom of God!

Achieving success in God’s Kingdom actually occurs much differently from achieving success in this world. Kingdom success doesn’t come by promoting yourself or by exerting power and influence over others. It doesn’t even come by working harder and longer than everybody else.

When the disciples were discussing who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of God, Jesus told them that you achieve success in God’s Kingdom by serving others–especially the most vulnerable.

Then, Jesus used an object lesson to demonstrate this principle. He embraced a child in front of the disciples. Children were considered unimportant because they had no power or status in society. By embracing the child Jesus characterized Kingdom greatness as being comprised of humility rather than self-importance.

Jesus used the same Kingdom principle in the context of wealth in the next chapter of Mark (vs. 10:17-31). A rich young man who wanted to follow Jesus would not sell all all his possessions and give the proceeds to the poor in order to be a follower of Jesus because he had many possessions. Jesus remarked how difficult it is for those who are rich to follow Him into His Kingdom, but tempered His remark with the statement that all things are possible with God (meaning rich people can, in fact, be saved but it is more difficult for them to trust in God rather than their wealth than it is for the poor). Jesus then reiterated that those who seem to be closest to God may not be as close as they think and those who seem farthest from God are often the most redeemable.“But many who are first will be last, and the last first”  (vs. 10:31).

If you want to achieve success in God’s Kingdom, then instead of trying to be first, be last! Serve others! Put the importance of others before the importance of yourself! Humble yourself and be a servant!

But through love serve one another. (Galatians 5:13, ESV)

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