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Ambition and drive are generally encouraged in our culture, although today’s reading sees Jesus challenging those values. As we pray, we ask that the Lord will help us turn down the volume on our need to be noticed, and worship him.


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Bible passage: Luke 9:46–50


Who Will Be the Greatest?
 46 An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. 47 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. 48 Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all—he is the greatest.”

 49 “Master,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”

   50 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”



New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


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Memorable response
Another situation where the disciples’ actions provoke a memorable response from Jesus. For some inexplicable reason, after Jesus has once again spoken of his impending death in Jerusalem (vs 44,45), they start arguing about their place in the pecking order. This depressing need to be recognised and lauded crops up time after time in the Gospels.

True greatness
Meanwhile Jesus arranges for a small child to stand next to him and then says that true greatness among his followers will be given to the least powerful and most vulnerable. Moreover, when we welcome such a child, Jesus says we are welcoming him.

Complete humility
As an antidote to the self-aggrandisement of his friends, Jesus identifies fully with all who are poor and of no status. The power of his miracles and teaching; the drama and triumph of his final days in Jerusalem all flow from an attitude of complete humility. And once again we are left feeling uncomfortable.

Let it go
I have a profound need to be endorsed by others, but Jesus calls me to let it go and follow him.

Gethin Russell-Jones

Respond


Few of us will admit to sharing the same feelings as the disciples in this reading but deep down we recognise the same insecurity. Let’s be honest as we bring this to God.


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Once more the disciples get a bad press. They have a bad attitude. Even in the most spiritual of environments, humans never seem to rise above vying for position and prestige. Here the disciples are fantasising about who would be greatest in God’s kingdom when it comes. They remain far from learning the true values of that kingdom. But then, has a great deal changed?

By contrast, Jesus acts as the patient teacher and gives them an object lesson. Jesus is invariably tender towards children and they seem to have flocked around him quite often. The child stands for those who have no reputation or standing within human affairs. Although no doubt loved by its parents, the child is of no importance in social affairs and is not a big shot, to be impressed. Yet such an unimportant child is to be welcomed, not ignored or overlooked; treated to show he or she is of great value. Doing this is acting in Jesus’ name – that is, in his character. Those who can do so show that they have understood something about the kingdom in which standard social protocols are turned upside down: the least is the greatest (v 48). The carry-through for ourselves is ‘do not think of yourself more highly than you ought’ (Rom 12:3).

The attitudes in this passage are not confined to those within the band of disciples. They have come across someone who is ‘not one of us’ (v 49). The outsider has nonetheless been casting out demons in Jesus’ name, without their accreditation! Yet Jesus exhibits a generous rather than a sectarian spirit, an attitude of permission rather than prohibition (v 50). The fact that he says virtually the opposite in Matthew 12:30 is worth pondering. It is not a contradiction, but a difference of context.

Reflection: Do you think it is true to say that when our attitudes are wholesome we can usually discern how to respond correctly to others?

Nigel Wright

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Isaiah 37,38

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You are God
The Charlie Hall Band
Brian Bergman, Charlie Hall, Dustin Ragland, Kendall Combes
© 2007 worshiptogether.com songs/sixsteps Music/Admin. kingswaysongs.com
www.integritymusic.com

King of Kings, Majesty
Jarrod Cooper

Copyright © 1996 Sovereign Lifestyle Music
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.integritymusic.com


Comments
  • Elli | Wednesday, 18 September 2019

    Since returning to wordlive I haven't seen posts from Ruth Lewis or Derek. Does anyone know if they are ok?

  • Rachael Hampton | Thursday, 19 September 2019

    The ‘profound need to be endorsed by others’ comes from the core of our being. We all need to know, beyond any shadow of doubt, that we are loved, and that we are significant. When we know, with every fibre of our being, that our God loves us and that our life matters to Him, others’ endorsements become optional extras - nice when it happens. Like Paul said, I want to become progressively and intimately acquainted with Him; I want to really come to know, practically, through experience for myself, the love of Christ - which far outpasses mere knowledge without experience - to become wholly filled and flooded with God Himself. Woo, yes! (from Eph 3:19 Amplified version)

  • Rachael Hampton | Thursday, 19 September 2019

    O Gilvin yes, May our lives look abnormal, as we live super-naturally out of the power within us. Alison, thank you for joining in and for making me think again about ‘taking up our cross daily.’ Making this a preoccupation can be very unhealthy. Rather, I think, it is a means to the end of seeking first God’s Kingdom and obeying Jesus. We know that every day this will bring us into conflict with the demands of our selfish souls, and I had better be armed with a fresh commitment to die to whatever it is that gets in the way of love, obedience, humility, and honouring Him.

  • Thelma Edwards | Thursday, 19 September 2019

    Please can I ask my loving WL family to pray for a situation relating to my brother Don. I heard yesterday, quite unexpectedly, that my brothers' Care Agency has served notice on looking after him due to their staffing issues and they no longer feel they can provide the care he needs. I understand that the process is that Adult and Social Care now have to find a new care provider for him. He may have to have a care plan review too. He's recently had a medical review and the GP rang me last evening to say he was pleased with the results and believes Don can continue to live in his own home with an appropriate package of community care to support this. This will probably upset Don who has got used to his current carers and I will need to start again to explain and "train" the carers to understand Don's more detailed needs not likely to be covered in a written Care Plan. The current providers finish on 15th October. I know the Lord has the bigger picture in sight and knows what is best for Don. He has been Don's great provider in the past, and I want to trust that God has not changed so will guide the various agencies to the right decisions. Please pray that this transition goes smoothly and that Jesus is Lord over this. Thank you.

  • Eileen Smith | Thursday, 19 September 2019

    Will pray Thelma that the Lord will meet Don’s needs— and yours. I pray that you will be filled with the Peace that only the Lord can give us & that you’ll be constantly aware of His wisdom guiding & leading you.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Thursday, 19 September 2019

    Jesus gave this truth of humility new meaning by walking in humility as no one ever had before. This path to greatness through self-denial is exactly opposite to the world’s path of exalting self at everyone else’s expense. The path of humility could not possibly work if there was no God; we would simply be trampled underfoot.Therefore, humility is a step of faith; i.e., faith that God is the judge and that promotion comes from Him (Psalms 75:6-7) and faith that God will resist the proud but give grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5). Humility is trusting in God and not in ourselves. This is why it is easy to be humble when we’ve failed and, conversely, hard to be humble when we’ve achieved great success. This is precisely why Paul commanded Timothy not to put a novice into a position of leadership in the church. Pride is self-sufficiency and self-exaltation, while humility is self-denial and dependence upon God. Pride is the only reason that strife comes (Proverbs 13:10); therefore, humility is the key to walking in love with our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

  • Elizabeth Thebus | Thursday, 19 September 2019

    My son, who is a rather high functioning individual has been diagnosed as Bipolar. I thought I was a Christian but now question that, as he has decided to live as Jesus. He has given all his clothes to the poor and homeless. He befriends everybody and spends his salary on their needs. He takes them to experience things, like ice skating, packs them lunch and buys soap and shampoo etc. Obviously he runs out of money but says,"God will provide." Some of these people are real dodge. He brought a "thug" home and asked me to accommodate him until he gets on his feet. We live in Cape Town which is a dangerous place. He lives the Word, literally. He says "Bad is just good, misunderstood." " Let go of the things of this world." So, if what he is doing is what a Christian is called to do, I fall short. He gets quite agitated when ministering and you say you are tired and am not receptive. He says you reject God's grace. Also, "Many are called, few are chosen." It's difficult to navigate this space.

  • Jean MacKenzie | Thursday, 19 September 2019

    Amen, Eileen. Praying for Don at this time of upheaval, Thelma, and also for you and for all those involved in the decisions and delivery of your brother's care after 15th October.

  • Paul Burkimsher | Thursday, 19 September 2019

    Elizabeth, thanks for sharing. You are not the only one on here with just these concerns with respect to family members. I know, 1st hand. It’s hard. We each have our unique perspective on God. Don’t allow your son to crush you though.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Thursday, 19 September 2019

    My goodness ELIZABETH. Jesus had nowhere to lay his head so be assured your son is living at home he is not Jesus. If your son is forcing you to take in thugs your son is doing the devil's work. Can you seek help from a local church leader because I think your son needs to find his own place to live, provided he is of age, so that he can live this lifestyle without depending on you. Please seek help and be assured your faith is real.

  • Angela Munday | Thursday, 19 September 2019

    Children are wonderful company; they are born pure and innocent of all worldly prejudice. May they receive good wholesome teaching that encourages them along the path to ‘life’. Elizabeth, Praying for you and your son as he lives out his faith in God. May you both be safe in God’s hands and may we all know that God wants us to care for each other in the family. Amen.

  • Roger Hall | Thursday, 19 September 2019

    A little dose of humility is so good for me. Probably need it more often!

  • Janet McIntyre | Thursday, 19 September 2019

    Elizabeth. Firstly, you are not rejecting God’s grace if you don’t join in with whatever your son is doing. Christians are all different, have different gifts, and are called by God to do different works. So your son’s agitation is possibly a bipolar reaction, or possibly because he feels that you are frustrating his call, or feels that you are not hearing God’s call on your life. Also, if this is your house, not his, it sounds like he is presuming upon his position as a son to dictate how the house is used, rather than asking your permission.

  • Frank Collins | Thursday, 19 September 2019

    Thelma and Elizabeth May you know “strength for today” ....... https://youtu.be/I2ALBUtJymg

  • Janet McIntyre | Thursday, 19 September 2019

    Elizabeth. Secondly, what is a Christian? A christian is someone who loves God, knows that they fail to live up to God’s perfect standards, and has asked Him to forgive them, take away their sin, and send the Holy Spirit to live in them and transform their life so that God becomes Lord and Master. Its about relationship, not rules. But, this transformation takes time, and we all continue to make mistakes, only gradually learning how to recognise God’s voice and direction. Young Christians (those who have only just started a life with Jesus) can be over enthusiastic and try to run ahead of themselves. If this is what has happened with your son, don’t quash his compassionate love completely. It may be a misunderstanding of what God wants, or it might be a genuine calling. Suggest he talks it over with his pastor. You could also suggest that he takes another Christian with him (not you): Jesus sent his disciples out in pairs.

  • Janet McIntyre | Thursday, 19 September 2019

    Elizabeth. Secondly, what is a Christian? A christian is someone who loves God, knows that they fail to live up to God’s perfect standards, and has asked Him to forgive them, take away their sin, and send the Holy Spirit to live in them and transform their life so that God becomes Lord and Master. Its about relationship, not rules. But, this transformation takes time, and we all continue to make mistakes, only gradually learning how to recognise God’s voice and direction. Young Christians (those who have only just started a life with Jesus) can be over enthusiastic and try to run ahead of themselves. If this is what has happened with your son, don’t quash his compassionate love completely. It may be a misunderstanding of what God wants, or it might be a genuine calling. Suggest he talks it over with his pastor. You could also suggest that he takes another Christian with him (not you): Jesus sent his disciples out in pairs.

  • Peter Moore | Thursday, 19 September 2019

    Dear Thelma. Just when you think things are sorted.... But the Lord will provide although it may be a bumpy ride. Keep trusting. I know it seems overwhelming but make sure the care plan is detailed and includes all Dons more detailed needs. Edit and amplify the agency's attempts at a care plan. Would a schedule of what is needed when be helpful to run alongside the care plan be helpful? God has wonderfully provided for me in a world where carers are in demand and good carers like gold. I've been dependent on carers for five plus years. And every shift has been covered. I've had self employed carers and agencies. Hopefully now settled with an agency that has taken on my amazing long standing believing carers who are more like family. Love from Peter

  • Peter Moore | Thursday, 19 September 2019

    Dear Elizabeth. That is a difficult diagnosis for your son and those around him to live with. Maybe some of his extreme actions and words suggest a manic phase and hopefully he has psychiatric support and appropriate medication. You are in a vulnerable position and need support with reassurance and good teaching about your own security in Christ. Hopefully you have people around you to love you and care for you and pray for you. Love from Peter

  • Peter Moore | Thursday, 19 September 2019

    Dear Lord Jesus. With care and wonderful compassion for the little children. And for those who trust him. And today finds me enjoying the glorious sunshine and off to one of my favourite places. Heddons Mouth. Blessing upon blessing

  • Lorna Duffin | Thursday, 19 September 2019

    Today I'm praying that the truths in the notes that remind us of God's love for the people the world abuses; the weakest, the voiceless, the dependent, would scaffold sore hearts, weary souls, and all of us who have responsibility for family members, or responsibility through work to ensure we are living and working in ways that insist on dignity and respect. Thelma and Elizabeth - joining with many in prayer for your situations.

  • Eileen Smith | Thursday, 19 September 2019

    Elizabeth- please read my comment for THELMA . I pray that for you too.

  • Eileen Smith | Thursday, 19 September 2019

    WORD LIVE - have flagged a comment accidentally — no idea which one. Please will you ignore- thank you !!

  • John Leckenby | Thursday, 19 September 2019

    Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 2 Chronicles 7v14. Our political world is full of power posturing again. Who do the people trust? "Lord have mercy on us,come and heal our land. Cleanse with your Fire ,heal with your touch. Humbly we bow and call upon You now,Oh Lord have mercy on us" words of Graham Kendrick Lord,thanks you that Nothing is beyond your power and Nothing beneath your notice. Give to All of us who believe and trust in You that assurance that You are our Goodand loving Father who will provide for our every need. God bless you Elizabeth and Thelma,and Don too of course.

  • Barbara Sabin | Thursday, 19 September 2019

    I look every day for a comment from Ruth Lewis I know she was getting older but her Christian walk was such a humble one. Bless you Ruth. When we become Christians we have nothing to prove we are loved and accepted what more could we possibly need? God is good all the time.

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