Sunday, September 19, 2021

How to be Great in the Kingdom of God

“They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest.” Mark 9:33

Jesus put a child in the midst of His disciples to show them what it means to be great in the Kingdom of God. Sadly, the world has another definition. Many would prefer to be powerful, dominant, a ruler who can command legions rather than someone who is humble, compassionate, and with a servant heart. 

I am reminded of a story the author Robert Cooper told in his book, “The Other 90%”. When he was in Tibet on a research project, he took the time to go up a mountain with a guide and another man who looked so sad and much older than his years. When they reached the top, the valley below was breathtaking and the snowflakes began to fall. Robert noticed the older man’s eyes fill with tears, and the guide looked like 

he was about to cry as well. 

“All of my family was buried there,” the man explained, pointing to the beautiful valley, “before they took the bodies away.” He told of the time in 1959 when the Chinese Army took over their country. The Tibetan army was too small and could not protect them from the Chinese who destroyed their homes, temples, raped their women, and forbade them from praying. 

No country came to their aid. 

A long time ago, he was walking along when he met a friend. He put his hands together in the traditional Tibet greeting and said, “Tashi deley” which means “I honor the greatness in you”. A Red Army officer caught him doing this and accused him of praying and spreading religion. Even when he said he was just greeting his friend, the officer insisted that he would be made an example of. Perhaps they had been watching him for any false move because he had been speaking out about the way they were being treated. 

The next day, the Red Guard had brought together his wife, and his extended family, even his grandmother and all the children. Though he pleaded with them to just punish him, they laughed and said they would make sure that he would suffer the longest. The family were commanded to dig a hole. Then torn strips of cotton were soaked in gasoline and stuffed into the mouths of his family and set on fire. They were all pushed into the hole and buried alive and screaming. The man had to watch all this while he was being held tightly. 

The Red Army officers and his men no doubt thought they were special, significant people, part of a select, entitled group. They had the power to enslave, oppress, maltreat and torment others. There are men around us today who are like that. They deprive people of education, health care, a voice, and have no compunction to kill anyone who gets in their way. They are monsters, we think. 

But how about us? Was there any time we acted as if we were somebody special, entitled? I have done, many times, I’m ashamed to say. Those are evidence of the rotten roots we have to pull out. There is only one way to be great in the eternal way of things- “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (James 4:10)

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:^) Patsy