For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

Jesus taught on many important topics in Mark 10. These ranged from divorce, child-like faith, where wealthy people fit into God’s kingdom, His death and resurrection, and humility. Today’s verse comes at the end of a conversation between Jesus and two of His closest disciples: James and John. He saw their desire for the highest place of honor, and wisely gave a cautious warning about how quickly power can go to our heads. Jesus was quick to remind His disciples of the importance of servant leadership.

His reply to their questions regarding authority, like most of what Jesus had to say, was profound and unexpected. The leadership principles Jesus taught His followers were counter-cultural. Jesus shared that the key to greatness in the kingdom of God is not greater regard for one’s self, but for the acclaim of God and the welfare of others. Jesus exemplified this truth with all of His life and death. This would have been as counter-cultural to His followers at that time as it is to us now.

Jesus lived a life of service and sacrifice, and He calls us to do the same. Fully living for Christ leaves no room for pride, selfishness, or arrogance. We will naturally be less self-centered as we become more focused on Jesus. Jesus promised that those who humbly follow Him and serve others will be considered great in the kingdom of God.

• How are you serving God, others, your community, and your church? Where can you begin?

• Historically, have you defined greatness by the standards of the world, or by the standard of God? What would change if you defined greatness in the same way God does?

• Pray for a growing desire to live in service to Jesus and for the opportunities to live this out.