In Matthew 18:1, the disciples asked Jesus, “who is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven?”. It may seem odd that Jesus placed a little child in the middle of this group and said, “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Mathew 18:4)”. A child the greatest? Yes. Not a sports figure or a war hero or a movie star? How can that be? Because the teachings of Jesus are contrary to the thinking of this world.
A man asked Jesus an important question, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?” There’s that word great again. “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:36-40). The greatest commandment? Now, is this contrary to the way the world thinks? You bet it is.
In Luke 22:24, the question arose again, “And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.” Jesus answered by talking about how the people of this world want to be the boss of everyone else. But he staggers their minds by saying that the servant who waits on tables, and not the privileged guest eating at the table, is the greatest. Isn’t that backwards to how our world thinks? Then Jesus added, by the way, that he is that servant.
The Apostle Paul compared love to anything else a person can do. In 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, he wrote poetically, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profits me nothing.” Then he concludes with that word again – greatest. “And now abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
So what are we missing? What is the world missing? What do both sides of our political system miss when they blame, accuse, and bicker among themselves continually. We all miss the greatest. Since the world’s thinking is contrary to God’s thinking, we settle for the least when we strive to be the greatest. Not only in politics, but in families, in churches, sports, and in all areas of our lives the world wants to look like the greatest and put everyone else down to make ourselves look better. We settle for less, for the easy way, for the immediately gratifying. No wonder our world is in a mess.
There is an answer. In 1 John 4:4, we are told, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” Jesus himself, speaking ultimately about himself said, “… behold, a greater than Solomon is here.” and “I have greater witness than that of John (the Baptist)”. But a greater statement comes in John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus laid down His life for this world.
So, why are we constantly seeking to live like the world? There seems to be little difference in how a believer lives and how the world lives. Isn’t it time to stop settling for less? Isn’t it time to stop living like this world is all there is? Isn’t it time for believers to turn their thinking around? The Apostle Paul pretty well sums it all up in 1 Corinthians 1.
“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness… Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brothers, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, has God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.”
Yes, the mind of this world is totally opposite the mind of God. Then why do we, as believers, keep thinking like the world? I think I’ll change my mind. Will you?