Line Leader? Servant? – Week of September 27, 2021

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”

Mark 9:35-37

Line leader! It’s a big deal! No matter what system you use in your classroom, it’s a big deal. Most children watch and wait with eager anticipation for their day to be first in line. They may walk a bit taller and have a little more confidence in their step.

For most of us, we have a similar desire. We may not be looking to be a line leader, but we want to be recognized as someone who has gifts that stand out. We want to have a status that identifies us as important. If we’re being honest, we’d like it to be understood that we are more important/gifted/talented than others around us.

As so often is the case in Scripture, the Lord turns this on end and flips this idea around completely! In today’s reading, the disciples are travelling with Jesus. Jesus notices that an argument has taken place. While he, as God, knew what was going on, he asked them to share what it was that caused the argument. Silence. A silence coming from embarrassment. They were arguing about who was the greatest of the disciples. Here they were, alongside the King of Kings, the creator of all, and they were arguing about who of them was the greatest. Jesus’ response was to the point for them and for us. The greatest, is the one who is a servant, the one who puts others before self. To illustrate his point, he held a small child in his arms and shared that those who welcome a young child, welcome him and ultimately God the Father.

I can only imagine the thoughts of the disciples as they listened to Jesus. His response makes no sense in their world or in ours if one is thinking purely worldly. Servant? Who aspires to that? Last? How embarrassing! And then we consider Jesus, his acts of service, his sacrificial heart for everyone from the youngest child to the wealthy man trying to understand how to get to heaven.

When we consider and reflect on Jesus’ life of sacrifice, we are moved by faith to respond in kind with acts of kindness for others. No role is beneath us, but each role is a joy and privilege. Are you a teacher, director, leader, classroom aide, administrative assistant, classroom volunteer, the one who keeps the building clean? Motivated by love for our Savior, each role provides an opportunity to serve others, to give sacrificially, to reflect Christ’s love for us to those around us. Think about what you do each day. As you comfort a child, you are the loving arms that reflect Jesus. As you hold the hands of the struggling new walker, your words of encouragement help motivate that child to keep going. As a child conquers a task or learns a new concept, you are the guide, the teacher, the cheerleader to encourage them. As you share a Bible story and God’s message of grace and forgiveness with the children or with each other, you are sharing the most precious lesson one could, the one about God’s gift of salvation, mercy, grace, and love for all.

Line leader? It’s still a great thing! But servant…now that’s something to consider. As our Savior Jesus showed us, we look for opportunities to serve others out of faith and gratitude to him.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, accept my humble acts of service to others and motivate me to serve with joy and gratitude for you and because of you. In your name I pray this. Amen

A Question to Consider: Over the next few days, look for ways that you can show acts of kindness in service to someone else, even if they are unaware that you are doing so. Pray that the Lord gives you a humble heart in your service to others.

Early Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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