If you are like me you can read a passage of scripture, reflect on it for awhile hoping that the Holy Spirit will empower understanding, and then at another time read again and find another meaning we may not have seen the first time around. Thus, my daily reading through the book of Mark uncovered this today:
Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, (10:43)
I have no problem comprehending that verse, but there is a comma followed by this:
and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. (10:44)
Wait a minute, I can be a servant and that makes me humble enough, but a slave to all? A slave has a master, and that means you are my master, or does that mean He is my master and I should be the same kind of slave He was to us all? Either way it is extremely humbling and destroys much of today's modern Christianity philosophy.
We tend to make people want to come around to our standards of belief, our way of thinking, as if they should "come up" to where we are. Instead, we should meet them where they are at without judgement and with a spirit of Jesus foot washing attitude. Like eating with sinners and tax collectors, and in so doing we teach them how our master really is, accepting. loving and merciful.
We can all say the words, think we are walking the talk, but these verses humble us to a point of becoming like missionaries in our own neighborhoods looking to act like we are last so that we can put our neighbors first. In plain words it is not how much we have that we can show to others how much the Lord has blessed us with.
Instead, it is how much of ourselves we can give away to say to others you need to see less of me, and more of Him in me.
Then I serve, then I am His slave, then I become great, only then do I finish first. Read, Reflect, Repeat!
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, the Lord has done great things for them. The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad. Psalm 126:1-3
When I was very young I had a dream of being a Major League Baseball player. I would spend hours practicing my swing by hitting rocks into a cemetery and throwing the ball against a wall to an imaginary batter. I did great until High School, realizing my talent level was only ordinary and I could only go so far on my own abilities and power.
My life seemed to play out that way for many years as I turned myself elsewhere to find where my talents could best be used. I found incredible success in sales, which led to great success in coaching basketball, but for every great thing there was a fall into a bad thing. My alcoholism doomed my family and career, my attempts at greatness were only a fleeting moment of stardom. My own abilities were limited by my propensity to fail.
Then in 1984 I met the one who never fails, the one who makes ordinary things look great and as the Promises of A.A, state "sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly" I began to realize the true talents God had placed on my life. And in that realization came the understanding that He wanted me to not just dream, but to dream big because His dreams are very big.
As a result of realizing those dreams comes the fulfillment of great things that God wants me, and each one of us to do. And when we accomplish those things, we become glad, very glad, because the Lord has restored Zion, he has given us his ultimate greatness, Jesus Christ!
Now I'm laughing. At all the dumb things I did that God has turned into great things by turning on the power in my life that I could never do by myself.
No more hitting rocks into a cemetery, he has better things for me to do!
For much of my life I have searched for my one true love. Through marriages and divorce there has been a struggle for me to be the right guy for someone, the good husband, and for many reasons including my struggle with addiction I have failed for more than just a few brief moments of being that person who finds that person.
In looking through my fireproof box of memories for a car title today I stumbled across a poem I wrote my very first love at 15 years old, along with a later sonnet I wrote to her as well. Her name was Sonia, a 4'11' beauty with the fire of the 100% Italian she was. When she was angry with me, plates would fly at me through the air, but man did she have my heart. I will save the poem for later, but but here is the sonnet:
My life could be worth but a few small frowns, thrown aside as never to be thought of
Yet you have placed it among the renowns, with your gentle warmth and wonderous love
When a day passes, which you are not near, I wonder if to this world I belong
My meaning in life seems to disappear, but with your love, I know I am strong
Strong, yet undeserving of your kindness, but to say I don't want you is a lie
Without you I am filled with blindness, with you, there is no greater man than I
So my love, for all of your devotions, I give you my life and all my emotions!
Reading this today, it hit me. Yes, I truly loved that girl as much as a passionate teenager could but all along my life leading up to now, all long It Was Always God that I was writing that sonnet to, it just took awhile for me to deliver it to him.
Thank God he waited patiently for me to find out who my first love really is!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.