“The Secret to Greatness”
“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’” [Matthew 17:14]
It is a great question, and oftentimes answered wrongly even amongst disciples, as we will see in our passage this morning. It is because the natural man only knows a natural way, by doing whatever it takes to “climb the corporate ladder” as they say. But unfortunately, many a “natural man” has climbed into the church.
Jesus, however, had a different perspective. His answer? “…whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” [Matt 18:4]
Greatness comes by humility. Jesus taught it and lived it. The word “humbles,” in verse 14 literally means “to lower oneself.” It describes a person who is devoid of all arrogance and self-exaltation – a person who is willingly submitted to God and His will.
The way up is down in the Kingdom, and this flies in the face of the natural man. Our natural way is to work up the ladder; the supernatural way is to bow and serve. When we bow our hearts to the Lord and begin serving Him, we will begin serving others because they are a Spirit-filled package. And as that package is filled, you will move to higher ground. You become greater as you bow and serve more. It is the secret to greatness in the Kingdom, and certainly a hidden treasure in this world.
But Jesus demonstrated this, “who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” [Phil 2:6-8]
How many of us would have left the Throne in heaven to kneel and wash disciples’ feet and then die for them? Radical! Radical humility! Yet it reveals the true greatness of Jesus.
The secret to greatness in the Kingdom is humility. Jesus taught it and lived it. May we follow His lead and do the same.