An argument started among them about who was the greatest of them. But Jesus, knowing their inner thoughts, took a little child and had him stand next to him. He told them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me. And whoever welcomes me welcomes him who sent me. For whoever is least among you — this one is great.”
Luke 9:46-48 CSB
It is our natural bent to hold the one in high esteem who does great things. We like to have heroes. Someone to look up to and admire. Sometimes even to worship, although we would never call it that. We know that is sin.
There are people I greatly admire (comparatively few, I will admit). Take Anne Graham Lotz. She has lived an exemplary life, and for many years has been a sought-after Bible teacher. But what made her stand out from the rest for me was the way she walked through her recent battle with cancer. She was a warrior. With a smile on her face. Now I am not naive enough to think she didn’t have bad days. In fact, she said as much. She is, after all, human. That’s one of the things I appreciate about her. She’s down to earth and honest about her humanity. But I will take her real strength and humility any day of the week over someone who, it is clear, is building a monument to himself or herself. Anne loves Jesus. Her greatest desire is to honor Him, and it shows. If you would like to look her up, you may find her at annegrahamlotz.org.
I can’t remember the names of any Sunday School teachers I ever had, though I went every Sunday. But I remember what I was taught by someone who loved Jesus and me enough to prepare a lesson and be there. Every Sunday. It was often a thankless job. But Jesus saw, and He rewards faithfulness. I think that was at least part of what He meant. He rewards those who toil for Him, no matter how obscure the task, remembering that, “whoever is least among you — this one is great.” I don’t know about you, but I would rather hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” than be given a million honors by people here on earth. One of my favorite songs expresses that desire – I’d Rather Have Jesus.
What kind of Person inspires that kind of love and loyalty?
The truth is…
God loves you just the way you are!
…Christ proved God’s passionate love for us by dying in our place while we were still lost and ungodly!
Romans 5:8 TPT
Love alone isn’t enough to get us into heaven though. We are sinful, and on our way to hell, needing a rescue! God made the way, when we put our faith and trust in Jesus, Who is the only way (John 14:6).
For this is how much God loved the world—he gave his one and only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life. God did not send his Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it! So now there is no longer any condemnation for those who believe in him, but the unbeliever already lives under condemnation because they do not believe in the name of God’s beloved Son.
The Bible says we must repent. This is the u-turn that gets us going in the right direction, and is part of being born again. Once we realize our sinful condition, and that Jesus has made the way for us to be made right with God and out from under the load of sin we’ve been carrying, we run to Him with open arms, and from the evil that has been steadily destroying us.
Peter replied, “Repent and return to God, and each one of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus, the Anointed One, to have your sins removed. Then you may take hold of the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:38 TPT
The Holy Spirit is the gift given to us that validates what has happened between us and God – what Jesus called being born again -John 3:3.
Each Christian has at least one gift of the Spirit – a special anointing to accomplish the work God assigns to each of us. There is also the fruit of the Spirit, which is the Holy Spirit making Himself known through us as we yield to Him in obedience and devotion (Galatians 5:22-23).
Following Jesus is exciting and fulfilling when we are “all in”. That is really the only way to follow Him since, if we aren’t “all in”, we aren’t following.
He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”
Matthew 22:37-40 CSB