We live in a world where people want to be first, we seek to place ourselves above, or as being worth more than others. There are those voices that would say everyone else get behind me, “I’m First”! To be first has the connotation of others being and having less significance than the ones who are “First”. The many issues that we see in our own nation, society and around the world comes from this desire to be First.
I recall Martin Luther King Jr, called this desire to be first, the desire to be great as the “vitamin A to the Ego” Freud called it the “Id” “Ego” and “Super Ego” This is where much of our difficulties lie, for some the irrational ID seems to be driving those who push themselves forward. The Super Ego is the moral side that is to keep the ID in check. The balance between the two is the Ego.
With out getting to far into Psychology it is to say, that there is an innate desire to be First of All. But Jesus sets the direction for the proper place for our primitive innate desire. He recognizes that His disciples where not paying attention to Him as he shared the true nature and direction for which he had come, namely to give His life as a ransom for many. Instead they were arguing about being First and Being great. Jesus say ” If anyone wishes to be first of all,
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” So to be First of All is to be Servant of All. This is a transcendence from the primal desire to simply be first, to be self-absorbed into believing that everything must evolve around us, but rather that true greatness, namely being First of all comes from being Servant of All.
Let’s look at St. James in his letter he says: :”Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice.” The total self centeredness and desire over what others may have is destructive, namely it is out of proper order. That right relationship with others is to seek the good of the other, to seek to lift them from their context and suffering, to reach out of ourselves and to raise up those who find themselves down. It is this coming out of ourselves and seeking out others that truly lifts us up to greatness.
Fighting, covetous desire of others stuff, the desire to posses all of this we fail to obtain, because we’ve asked wrongly. We have not because we ask not, or we ask wrongly. Placing the good and need of the other before ourselves moves us to a higher level. You see Jesus’ way teaches us that we can all be great, because we can all be First, we can all serve. First in Service, First in Love, this is where true greatness is found.
In the midst of all of this selfishness and commotion Jesus pauses to take a child into His arms. We need to note the proper way of regard for children, for the vulnerable. In a time when we as Church are called to examine how we’ve regarded children in the past, or rather some have disregarded this command of Jesus. It is time to place the welcome and welfare of our children as a priority. Jesus says let them come to Him and do not hinder them. The abuse and disrespect of a child negates Christ’s desire and purpose for them. As God’s children they are called to be lifted up, and safeguarded. For they are a model to us that must be respected. They model trust, the model genuineness, they model for us true love. To manipulate and abuse this genuine trust and love is an attack against Christ Himself. For Christ says to receive a child is to recieve Him, thus to abuse, manipulate and mistreat a child is to do the same to Christ.
As a Church it is time for us to stand up for the child and place our children in the High regard intended by God. Look at Psalm 139 13&14 “you formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! My very self you know.”
We are wonderfully made by a God who knows our inmost being. So seeing our children as a model for us. Let us truly seek to be First of All and Servants of All, thus Transcending All, to be the people God has created us to be. Living, Loving and Serving All for His greater glory.