46 An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. 47 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. 48 Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For whoever is least among you all is the greatest.”
Luke doesn’t tell us how the disciples argued they were greater than each other, but Jesus sees through to the wrong thinking behind. Seeking personal significance is a very basic thing, and something that is common in Australia. Jesus doesn’t say it’s wrong in itself, but he does address where we look for it and what we do with it.
Where should I look for significance? In my job? In what I’ve done or how much I’m needed?
Jesus takes a little child – no particular child, just a child – seemingly of no significance, and says “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me also welcomes my Father who sent me.” The child has significance because of Jesus. Jesus has significance because of the Father, and so the child also has significance because of the Father.
Jesus tells me that my greatest significance comes from God. Those other things may give some significance, but they are nothing by comparison with being a son of the Most High God. My greatest significance comes from what Jesus did, not from what I did.
And comparing myself to others is absurd: my Christian brothers and sisters are children of the Most High God just like me; and those in my world who aren’t Christians (yet) are so significant that God sent his precious son, Jesus, to die so they could become his children too. The right response is to welcome and accept them as God does.
Seems simple, but it’s not always easy to reorient our desire for significance. Luke records another dispute between the disciples over who is the greatest in chapter 22:24-30. Often heart issues are the hardest to shift.
Lord, help me reorient my heart to make you the source of my significance, and open my eyes to rejoice in the wonderful significance you give those around me.
Written by David Cornell