I am concerned and worry about lots of things. One of them is how am I doing compared to others. Culturally, and probably as a part of my sinful nature, I want to do better than others.
Maybe, compared to others, I want to be the best.
Jesus is having none of that. Jesus calls me up short on it all. Jesus is clear.
At about the same time, the disciples came to Jesus asking, “Who gets the highest rank in God’s kingdom?”
For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me. | Matthew 18:1-5 (The Message Bible)
Jesus has a goal for me. Jesus is clear that I must repent, that is, change my inner self — my old way of thinking, live a changed life and become like a child in my faith. I am to be trusting, humble, and forgiving. Unless I do that, I will never enter God’s country where Jesus is King.
I must humble myself like a child to be the greatest in the kingdom of God. If I receive and welcome a child in Jesus the King’s name, I receives Jesus.
If I cause one of the little ones who believes in Jesus to stumble and sin by leading them away from teaching of Jesus, it would be better for me to have a heavy millstone as large as one turned by a donkey hung around my neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
Am I putting barriers up for those who could believe? Do I cause other followers of Jesus to stumble. Jesus challenges me to be careful.
Yes, Jesus is clear with me. I am to be last. Absolutely. All the time.