Clueless to Greatness

33 They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” 34 But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. (Mark 9:33-34)

We can be so clueless. Jesus talks about sacrifice, and we’re consumed with who gets the best seat in the house.

Where Greatness Dwells

Mark 12 gives a contrast in true greatness.

There is the greatness we aspire to (even if we may not admit it at times). For the Jews in that day there was an admiration for the religious leaders. They had places of position. They had esteem. They looked smart.

But all that glitters is not gold.

38 As he was teaching, he said, “Watch out for the legal experts. They like to walk around in long robes. They want to be greeted with honor in the markets. 39 They long for places of honor in the synagogues and at banquets. 40 They are the ones who cheat widows out of their homes, and to show off they say long prayers. They will be judged most harshly.” (Mark 12:38-40, CEB)

The temptation of power and prestige is fierce. Guard yourselves.

Then there is the story of the offering. Everyone is giving huge sums of money, and along comes a poor widow. There isn’t any fanfare for her. Hardly anyone notices the small pittance she drops in the offering plate.

But Jesus notices.

 41 Jesus sat across from the collection box for the temple treasury and observed how the crowd gave their money. Many rich people were throwing in lots of money. 42 One poor widow came forward and put in two small copper coins worth a penny. 43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I assure you that this poor widow has put in more than everyone who’s been putting money in the treasury. 44All of them are giving out of their spare change. But she from her hopeless poverty has given everything she had, even what she needed to live on.”

Greatness isn’t in the outward display of wealth, honor, or intelligence. Greatness dwells in the person who lays it all on the line. There is no economic barrier for wealth. It could be someone who does indeed make a lot of money, or someone who makes barely enough to survive. The question is not the amount you give. The question is the amount of sacrifice. Greatness is about laying it all down for the Kingdom.