“Whoever is the least among you is the greatest.” (Luke 9:48 NLT)
Jesus’ inner circle had been arguing among themselves about which one was the greatest. When Jesus discerned their thoughts, he drew a child close to himself and made him an object lesson. You want to be great? Then learn from the child. Don’t try to be impressive or important. Just be. Every child has what it takes to be great in the kingdom.
We can speculate about which childlike characteristics Jesus would emphasize—he specified childlike acceptance in this incident, childlike faith in another—but it’s remarkable that Jesus showed his followers the way to greatness. He never rebuked them for the goal; they were actually created to be great. Their problem was in their definition, not their desire. They could be great in the kingdom of heaven by learning what greatness really is and embracing it.
The way up in the kingdom is to go down—in humility, simplicity, dependence, and sacrifice. A child’s heart is equipped for greatness because it believes, envisions, and trusts with ease. It minimizes obstacles and magnifies God. The desire for greatness is good; and the means to get there is simpler than we ever imagined.
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