Human nature means that we want to be loved and feel appreciated, not just by God but by people everywhere. We want to be well thought of, respected and we desire that our voice is heard. We even go so far as to say, “I want to be great and well-known.” We are no different than those first disciples who asked Jesus, “who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:1-6)
We can all identify with one or more of the disciples, and it is no different when we ask questions as they asked. However, the answer may surprise you. It surely surprised them, and it is contrary to the world’s thinking. When we think of great people, we think of famous leaders, inventors, authors, politicians, military leaders, and business people.
Those famous people may or may not have had what it took to be great in the Kingdom of God. Remember, it is the upside-down kingdom when compared to this world. So, that is one reason we need our minds renewed to have a heavenly perspective. Before we come into the kingdom, we think like the world.
Are You A Child?
So then, who can be great in the kingdom of heaven? In answering His disciples, Jesus called a child to come over and explained, “unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18: 3 MEV)
So, the question is, are we like children? Remember when you were born again? That childlike simplicity and joy we experienced. How we wanted just to obey and serve Jesus and fellowship with the Holy Spirit. That was our only desire. Our every desire was to please the Father, walk with Jesus, and be filled with the Spirit.
But, somewhere along the way, we let the world’s ways take us up, and if you are like me, you wanted to climb the ladder of success, even in the church. So, many want to be well-known in the church as great leaders, with degrees, accolades, and titles like Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, and Bishop, just to name a few.
Our job is to stay humble and be known as a servant. Where are the servants? Do you want to be great? The apostles were known as the scum, the off-scouring of the world. It doesn’t sound great, but they were humble servants. Paul often referred to himself as a bondservant of Christ. We are co-heirs, friends and we will marry the bridegroom, Jesus. But our position is still as sons and daughters, with child-like faith and humility.
My wife and I have worked with children for many years, and when it comes to teaching and really anything we do with them, we keep it simple. That’s how we want it. Children can tell if I’m genuine. They know our motives. They don’t want to be lied to or manipulated. Just tell them what to do, and they do it. Yes, there are those troubling kids that are difficult, but we seem to find a way.
Humble Yourself To Be The Greatest
Matthew 18:4 (MEV) “Therefore whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom.”
It doesn’t get any clearer than that. Humility is the opposite of pride. You can have great ideas and be used mightily by God, but you are the lowest in God’s kingdom without child-like simplicity. Humility is demonstrated a lot by Jesus. Consider who He ministered to and where He went. He often did work that was for slaves of the nations, like foot washing.
He put His hands in the mud and healed the blind or ate with ‘sinners,’ demonstrating this principle. Ultimately, He suffered the death penalty that was reserved for criminals, opponents of the Roman government. We say we want to be like Christ, but when was the last time we went to the lowest place, whether in our prayer closet, the soup kitchen, the slims, or where the homeless hang out. When was the last time we offered to clean the church, cut the grass or visit a widow?
We tend to think that all of that is for the hired people or the staff. We typically don’t see Church leaders walking in humility as described in these passages. That means we have to do better. Instead of raising the bar, we lower it. But, we should be lowering to the point of humbling ourselves as servants and then let Jesus raise us up. Jesus set the bar high to go low.
“And Whoever receives one such child in my name, receives me.” (Matthew 18:5 MEV)
If you receive a child or anyone like a child would, then you have received Jesus. Children usually don’t have motives unless they are planted there by someone with false motives. Children just want to have fun and enjoy life. When they have a need, they expect mom or dad or the adult they approach to help them. So it is with the kingdom of God. When someone has a need, we approach as if it were Christ Himself. Giving that cup of cold water means it is as if Christ is drinking it.
So often, we shy away from the less desirable, the unlovable, those that look and act differently from us. But aren’t they the ones to whom Jesus went? James tells us that pure religion is to minister to the poor, widows, and needy.
Concerning the gifts, I just would like to mention that they are to be used to build up and edify. When the Holy Spirit uses us to prophecy, or heal, or any other gift, we become the servants, and we are the vessel. It is as if we are speaking to Jesus. One who prophecies, for example, becomes the mouthpiece of God at that moment. The prophets of the Old Testament saw themselves as servants.
Serve With Thankful and Humble Hearts
So, the challenge is to continue to serve and labor for Christ as little children. Develop a thankful heart and stay low and even when He raises you up and your name becomes famous among men, stay humble and serve Him and His body. The day will come when all of these things will be judged!
Enjoy life in the Kingdom!