Morning Musing: Mark 10:41-44

“When the ten disciples heard this, they began to be indignant with James and John. Jesus called them over and said to them, ‘You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. But it is not so among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you will be a slave to all.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

In my household, there is a simple rule that regulates our interactions with our three boys. Perhaps you have a similar, if unwritten and even unspoken, rule in your own household. If one child gets something, the others must be treated in similar fashion. If one child gets a snack before bed, all three need a snack before bed. It wouldn’t matter if the other two had finished eating dinner only moments before. They are suddenly starving and couldn’t possibly be expected to make it to breakfast without one more bite of food. There’s another rule at play as well: If mom and dad put you in charge, you get to act like you’re in charge. Now, we didn’t make up these rules. They came part and parcel with the parenting gig. I suspect they came with your own gig too. The reason for that is simple: These rules are how people naturally think and interact with one another. The disciples put both rules on display here…and Jesus explains (again) that this isn’t how the kingdom of God works. Let’s talk about it.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 9:33-35

“They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the way?’ But they were silent, because on the way they had been arguing with one another about who was the greatest. Sitting down, he called the Twelve and said to them, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must be last and servant of all.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Is there anything you do that you can say you’re the best in the world at doing? If you’re like me, while you may be good – even really good – at a few things, to say you’re the best in the world is probably not something you can claim honestly. Perhaps, though, you hold a Guinness World Record for doing something. You can search their archives for really obscure records and get them to come and watch you do it in order to claim the title. That would technically make you the best in the world until someone breaks your record. In spite of knowing we’re not the best in the world, though, most of us still want to be the best. We simply opt for a different level of greatness. If we can’t reach the pinnacle of world domination, then we’ll settle for being better than the people around us. This is a natural human tendency. It is a natural human tendency that Jesus here wanted the disciples to understand works very differently in the kingdom of God than it does in this world.

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Digging in Deeper: Philippians 2:3-4

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

When was the last time you came across someone who was truly humble? That’s not a virtue we see very often nowadays, especially from people who spend their lives in the spotlight. More than that, it’s not a virtue that’s taught as something worth striving for in the first place. Instead, the message we have preached at us from every direction is that we need to look out for ourselves. We need to work to advance our own interests. We need to toot our own horn because if we don’t, no one else is going to do it for us. We are told that we are the most important person in the world and should behave accordingly. This trend was all sold to us as something positive. So…what have the results been?

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Irreducible Complexity

With one more week to go in our series, Being Useful, we are starting to get a lot more clarity on what the picture of a life that is useful to Jesus looks like. And what does it look like? Love. This week and next we are going to wrap up this powerful series by talking about the role love plays in the church and in the life of a follower of Jesus. Don’t miss a single part of it.

Irreducible Complexity

Some of the fiercest and most significant debates happen in places where nobody sees them.  These are often inner-disciplinary debates among scholars on a single topic.  And the stakes for these are a lot higher than it would seem.  For instance, a debate among mathematicians about the best way to solve certain kinds of math problems may look from the outside like a bunch of geeks arguing about esoteric philosophies that have nothing to do with the daily lives of normal people.  But, the winning side may very well have their ideas appear in textbooks—do they even use textbooks anymore?—and curricula for elementary students and, all of a sudden, a whole new way of thinking about math will be planted in the culture.  All of a sudden, what was once abstract academic jargon begins to have a profound impact on the lives of regular people who are far removed from the ivy-covered campus buildings of elite universities.  Hello: Have you tried helping your kids with their math homework lately?  Case in point. 

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Digging in Deeper: 2 Samuel 24:24

“The king answered Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it from you for a price, for I will not offer to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for twenty ounces of silver.”  (CSB – Read the chapter)‬‬

Sometimes a verse of Scripture means something obvious in its context, but at the same time points forward toward a broader, deeper truth that is foundational to a life of successfully following after Jesus. This is one of those verses. 

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