33 Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” 34 But they were silent, because on the road they had argued with one another which was the greatest. 35 He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” 36 Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever welcomes one child like this in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not just me but the one who sent me.”
the greatest nobody
We preachers get a lot of mileage out of Jesus’ illustration of the little child, but we often miss the context in which Jesus used the illustration. The disciples had been arguing over who was the greatest. When Jesus welcomed that little child into their company, it was not because that child was the best kid in the neighbourhood. He was not a significant contributor to the team. He was just a kid. But his significance lay in the fact that Jesus did welcome him.
Each of those disciples (excepting Judas) would eventually go out and lead his own ministry. Each had to learn now that it is not about greatness. Ministry is about being accepted and called by Jesus. You can be the greatest nobody, and make a difference because you belong to Jesus.
LORD, as we serve others, give us the confidence of knowing we do so by virtue of your calling, not our qualification.