Tuesday, Sept 19, 2017. The question of who is great and what is great is important to humans again and again. We all have categories in our mind which search for importance around us. Who is it we need to take into account? Who is leading, who determines the framework of our life?
The greatest …
Great or not important? When we come to general elections, that is a core question! Who should lead the country? When we are in science, this is what often bothers people. We are less interested in the results, we are more looking into who has found them. When we come to economy, people are discussing revenue and money - and who is the one who earns the most. Sports looks for the winner. It is everywhere in our society. Who is the greatest?
The topic of who is great has also moved the disciples of Jesus. They knew the questions. And they discussed it - when he did not listen. But he know their concern. And he brought up the topic and came with one of his timeless statements. Let us read from Mark 9:
33 And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” 36 And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.” (from Mark 9)
This is great …
Jesus destroys the game we play with greatness. He answers with a paradoxon: great is who is the last and serves all. Does that basically destroy the meaning of greatness? Yes. It is great to be fully human. It is great to love. It is great to help. It is great to use your talents to be with others and live with them in a community of trust, truth and love.
So often we believe that particular things make us great. But they do not. When you experience this type of greatness, you might find a particular type of appreciation, but it does not lead anywhere. It leaves you empty in the end. What you need is personal friendship, is the love of people around you, their support and help. You do not need to be the first. Do not believe those who tell you!
We need the Lord, the creator, the holy spirit. He is great. He is fantastic. And of course: he has created many great people, equipped with character and skill. All have their particular strength and weaknesses, all are made to work together. We need to discover him, and let his spirit be our guide when we explore human life and community. (Roland Potthast) ... more texts