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I was reading this morning in Matthew 18: 1-5 when I noticed something...
People usually refer to this passage as being about having child-like faith, and I believe that is part of it, but only part. However, what caught my eye was how it speaks of being humble like a child. As a father, I can tell you children are many things, but humble is not a word I would use to describe them. I have two wonderful girls and they can be thoughtful, caring, and even considerate. Being humble, the ability to realize you're not the most important or the center of attention, is not natural for kids.
Then it occurred to me, children are subject to the authority of others, parents, teachers, and even other adults. Children may not be humble naturally, but they are in a position that requires them to learn humbleness. When Jesus said this, it came in the context of being asked who would be greater in heaven, not about what kind of faith a person has. The disciples were constantly striving to be "number one" because from their perspective, position equals importance. They needed a new perspective on greatness.
I admit, I struggle with this same shortsightedness and rating my importance by what I do.
Greatness is not in what we do, but rather in who we choose to serve. It's the mark of true leadership and of true greatness. Every great man or woman in history submitted themselves to the service of others, which is why we remember them and recount their stories. They were not afraid to take the "lowly position" and in turn were lifted up on the shoulders of others and labeled "great."
Seeking to be great? Serve people, rise to the task not the position, and practice being humble.