Who is the greatest?

Today Mr Afrika Mhlope took time out of his busy schedule to speak to a young boy who is asking questions regarding conflicts between culture and Christianity. I was so impressed with his caring attitude and the attention he paid to the boy. Culture in our country is a big deal and the fact that this man practices what he preaches warmed my heart. Matthew 18:5, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me.” This is what Jesus said when the disciples wanted to know who the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven was. In Luke 9:37, Jesus once again uses the example of a child, “Whoever receives one such child in my name received me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.” Today a child went home feeling the love of God and seeing an example of Christian humility. I was speaking to a friend about actions speaking louder than words just this morning and here it was lived out.

When people see us and speak to us do we genuinely stand out as being ambassadors for the Most High God? Are we Kingdom people, or do we look just like the rest of the world? Are we humble and patient and joyful, or are we full of pride and do we sweep everyone away in front of us? Are we so puffed up with our own brand of Christianity that we take Christ out of the equation and forget that without Him we are truly nothing. Luke 14:25 – 27 (Message), “One day whaen large groups of people were walking along with him, Jesus turned and told them, “Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters – yes, even one’s own self! – can’t be my disciple. Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple.” Verse 33, “Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple.”

That must be one of the hardest verses in the Bible to get your head around. How can Jesus expect that of me? How can He expect that I give up my husband, or my children? Everything I worked so hard for? Of course we tend to forget that God owns everything. Like every single blade of grass and every little bird and every atom that everything is made of. It’s His. We are just stewards. We have to look after the things that He gives us curatorship over. Psalm 24:1-2, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for He has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.” Psalm 50:10-12, “For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I Know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine.” I was listening to a sermon and that said, even if those cattle are on your land they belong to God. Obviously the land also really belongs to God. Do we really have any idea how profound this is? Not a pencil, not the computer I’m typing on, not my clothes, nothing really belongs to me. I’m looking after it for God. He is the rightful owner.

Deuteronomy 8:17 – 20, Again in the Message version, ‘“If you start thinking to yourselves, “I did all this by myself. I’m rich. It’s all mine!” – well, think again. Remember that God, your God, gave you the strength to produce all this wealth so as to confirm the covenant that he promised to your ancestors – as it is today. If you forget, forget God, your God, and start taking up with other gods, serving and worshiping them, I’m on record right now as giving you a firm warning: that will be the end of you; I mean it – destruction. You’ll go to your doom – the same as the nations God is destroying before you; doom because you wouldn’t obey the Voice of God, your God.” That is heavy.

Are we able to live up to what the bible tells us to do? Are we able to truly put Jesus first? First before family, possessions and plans? Matthew 18:3 has the answer, “Truly I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Let us examine our hearts so that we can truly live the Gospel.

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