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Pearls of the Kingdom 3/13/24

I’m thinking if you are a sports fan, you understand the acronym G.O.A.T. What I have found, this acronym was introduced to us by Muhammad Ali. He called himself, “Greatest Of All Time.” 

G- Greatest  O- Of   A- All   T- Time

This acronym is typically associated with but not limited to an athlete. If you have a favorite sport, then most likely you have someone that fits this definition of G.O.A.T.

What sets an athlete above all the others? What characteristics, traits, accomplishments do they have that would give them the right to be called, G.O.A.T.?

Things that stand out to me:

*  How many years have they played? 

*  Someone who has been around 8-12 years, long career

* They have been consistent year after year.

* How many records do they hold?

*  How many championships have they won?

* Maybe you have a stat, accomplishment that would help support the title of G.O.A.T.

So, thinking now more along a “Spiritual”, “Biblical” approach to this thought. Have you ever pondered what does being great in the Kingdom of God look like? How would Jesus define being great?

I’m thinking, James and John had an idea of what being great looks like. They wanted a place of “honor” sitting next to Jesus.

Mark 10:35- 37 “Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came over and spoke to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do us a favor.”  “What is your request?” he asked. They replied, “When you sit on your glorious throne, we want to sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.”

If we read further, after this encounter Jesus goes on to share,

Matt 20:25-28 “But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.  It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

I believe Jesus gave us some insight to what it looks like to be the “Greatest In The Kingdom of God.” I have no fancy acronym for this.

I must believe that Jesus gave us and even demonstrated to us the defining characteristic for being great in His Kingdom. We can note here that He took the form of a servant and washed the disciple’s feet. Washing of the feet was an Oriental custom of great antiquity as a mark of hospitality. Understand that this humble, low place, washing of feet was done by servants of the house and not the master of the house.

Jn 13:4-5 “rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”

Jn 13:14-17 “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”

Just thinking, I believe we find some of those Great in the Kingdom characteristics here in Matthew 25. 

Matt 25:34-36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”

Matt 25:40 “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

I sense that at the end of my days, it will not matter how many books I wrote, how many evangelical crusades I held, how many foreign countries I visited preaching, how many theological degrees I possess, whether I can speak fluent Greek or Latin, those things are nice. There is no final exam but there is a final grade. These words of the Master are most important, 

Matt 25:21 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Can you join me in a simple prayer, “Jesus make me a servant, humble and meek, help me to lift up those who are weak, Jesus, make me a servant today”

Pastor Jeff

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