All human organizations have “pecking orders.” In junior high concert band, I desperately wanted to play first trumpet. First trumpets sat on the end, and could be seen by the crowd during performances. Second trumpets (which was my position) were buried in the back, out of sight. With time and practice, I moved up. Eventually, I was visible. I had “arrived.”
The Kingdom of God works on exactly the opposite principle. It’s not about prestige or position, it’s about obedience, faithful service in the place God has assigned us, whether seemingly “great” or “small.” John the Baptist seemed to understand this. When his disciples came and complained to him that the crowds were abandoning him in favor of Jesus, John pronounced these unforgettable words:
“He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
This simply does not compute in human terms, but in God’s calculus, it makes perfect sense. Jesus calls us not to be masters, but to be servants. Greatness comes not through lording it over others, not in bullying them to get our way. True greatness lies in our ability put others before ourselves. To ascend, first descend.
“Lord, help me today to serve others, to put their interests above my own. Forgive me when I have made myself the center of my world. Teach me your way. In Christ’s name, Amen.”
Reflection based on Scripture reading for Day 62, Cambridge Daily Reading Bible, 1995