In Mark 9:30-31, Jesus told His disciples about His upcoming death and resurrection (9:30-31). They didn’t grasp what He was saying but “’were afraid to ask Him about it” (v. 32). Unfortunately, they did not show the same reticence in regard to arguing among themselves about “who was the greatest” in the kingdom (v. 34). So, there you have it: Jesus was trying to share with them concerning His impending death and they were preoccupied with who is the greatest among them. As we like to say today, those are bad optics any way you look at it.
Jesus pointed them to a little child to teach them a valuable lessons about the kingdom (9:36-37). In their quest for personal recognition and glory, each was seeking to separate himself from the other disciples. It was individuality over community, “me” over “we.” They had not learned the lesson that where there is unity, there is strength. They didn’t understand the complementary nature of the kingdom and were locked into competing with each other.
Last week on Wheel of Fortune, the puzzle was ANOTHER FEATHER IN YOUR CAP. All of the letters were revealed except for the “I” in IN, the “U” in YOUR, and the “C” in CAP. It took six more guesses before someone solved the puzzle.
The contestants were obviously embarrassed but handled it with grace as did the show’s host, Pat Sajak. The only graceless responses came through social media and sadly, they came fast and furious. Finally, Sajak stepped in and posted a series of tweets. Here’s some of what he said:
The people making the critical comments on social media were doing what the disciples were doing—trying to separate themselves from others who they thought looked bad. (“Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan”). Pat Sajak, on the other hand, was practicing kingdom values by embracing the contestants by seeing himself in them.
The core truth for the disciple is if we are a believer in Christ, then we must be a receiver of people! We learn to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15). This is loving your neighbor as yourself and you can only do this when you learn to see yourself in them. That’s what it means to practice community and be welcoming.
Lets go viral with community.