What It Means to Be Human: Servanthood

David Bast

Read: Mark 10:35-45

Whoever would be great among you must be your servant. (v. 43)

You can always tell who the most important people are. They’re all celebrities—politicians, athletes, movie stars, wealthy business leaders. It’s easy to spot them by the jobs they have, the clothes they wear, the cars they drive, the places they live, the people they hang out with. They’re usually surrounded by bodyguards, personal assistants, press agents, various groupies. So if you want to know who the greatest people are, just look for the ones with the most money, power, and fame.

But Jesus turns the world’s ideas upside down and inside out. On the way to Jerusalem the disciples were squabbling about who would get the money, power, and fame in Jesus’ soon-to-come kingdom. Jesus stops them short. In the world

—among “the rulers of the Gentiles,” as he put it—greatness is defined by position and power (v. 42). The higher you climb, the more you can “lord it” over others, the greater you are.

But Jesus says that things are different in the kingdom. In the kingdom, the way up is down. Greatness there is determined by how low you can go, not how high you might climb. It is achieved through lowly, modest, unpretentious service to others. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. And, as always, Jesus himself is the perfect model of this. “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (v. 45). —David Bast

Prayer: Lord, help me to achieve true greatness.