Today, I was reading through the second half of the book of Mark for the Community Bible Experience. The thing that stuck out at me so strongly is the idea of who is greatest and who is least. On every occasion that this conversation was brought up, Jesus had a way of turning everything upside down and said that the least was greatest, and the greatest was the least. Hmm. What does that mean? Basically, God wants humility. The goal isn't to be the greatest, the goal is to accept that we are servants of God. When we consider others before ourselves, that is how we honor God. So when we give up our own "rights" to honor someone else's "rights," we are honoring God through servant-hood.
Mark 10:35 (NIV) tells us of a statement that James and John said to Jesus, "Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. 'Teacher,' they said, 'we want you to do for us whatever we ask.'" Think on that for a moment...we can want God to do whatever we ask, don't we? But they went further and basically asked to sit at the most prominent position with Jesus in Heaven. The desire to be great reflects in all of our hearts at some point; however, with Christ working in our hearts we can also learn to have the godly desires instead. In Mark 12:32-34, Jesus was pleased with a teacher of the law when He responded to Jesus' teaching: "'Well said, teacher,' the man replied. 'You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but Him. To love Him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.'" This verse reflects what God revealed about His heart in Hosea 6:6, "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Isaiah 58 expresses God's heart for us to meet the needs of others and He expresses that the kind of fasting He wants is to loose the chains of the oppressed. So, we honor God when we think of other's before our own rights.
Whose rights are you considering?
This post is linked with Faith Filled Friday.