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Blessed Children’s Day
Mr. Daniel Gan
5 October 2020
When Jesus reached Capernaum, He asked what the disciples were arguing about along the way (Mark 9:33). They kept silent - perhaps they were ashamed, or they were afraid to be rebuked. But knowing what they argued about, Jesus sat down, gathered the disciples around him in the traditional rabbi-teaching format, and said to them (v.35), “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
True greatness, Jesus said, is the willingness to be the last.
It’s not about positioning ourselves so that others will praise us, but it’s about positioning ourselves to serve everyone, to be a blessing to all.
To iterate his point, Jesus did something weird. Read the text carefully, and you would notice that Jesus took a child (probably Peter’s son), and first set the child in the midst of the disciples, and then reached out and picked up the child in his arms. Why did Jesus do that?
Children are among the “all” of verse 35, and Jesus did so to emphasise that if we desire to be great, then we must be the servant of children, we must make time for them, we must not despise them nor think them merely the work of the women-folk, but we must serve them! And the reason why and how are found in verse 37, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”
The key is in the phrase “in My name”. Serving children in any other way but in the name of Jesus Christ, does not fulfil His will. We serve a child best when we receive, when we love, when we care, when we spend time with, not in the name of the child, not because we expect them to return our love in kind, not because we expect them to return the favor in monetary terms when they are older and working, BUT in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
We serve our children best when we receive a child not just because our joy is in the child, but because our joy is first and foremost in God.
Only then will we be able to serve a child who doesn’t appreciate all the help you have given. To serve a child that always takes for granted all the things that you do for him or her. To serve a child that despite receiving all the love and life that you have poured into him or her, still turns around and says, “I hate you.”
Serving them reveals whether we are truly great… whether we live to serve or we live to be praised.
Mr. Daniel Gan