Who Will Be Greatest in God’s Kingdom?
Yesterday I gave the second reason as to why we can’t know who will be greatest in God’s kingdom. Today, I finish this series. We can’t know who will be greatest in God’s Kingdom because Jesus’ criterion for greatness in God’s Kingdom isn’t obvious.
In Matthew 20:21 we read that Jesus was asked if two of his disciples could sit at Jesus’ right hand and left hand in his Kingdom. Jesus could have replied a lot of things. One thing he could have replied was “It doesn’t work like that! Everyone is going to be equal in the Kingdom. You’ll all get to take turns sitting at my right and left hand.”
But Jesus didn’t say that.
Instead Jesus said in v. 23, “to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” In other words, some will have honors that others don’t. Does this make you want to get more Twitter followers? That’s not the criterion. Then in vv. 26-28 Jesus tells us the criterion for who will be great in His Kingdom: “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.”
So there it is! Who will be greatest in God’s kingdom isn’t dependent on academic accolades, audience size, book sales, blog numbers, Twitter followers, Facebook friends, etc. Rather, if you want to be great in God’s kingdom, then be a loving servant!
Again, I am by no means perfect at this. Not even close! But I’ve learned that getting myself off the fool’s gold standard of ministry success has diminished my lusts generated from feeling the need to compare myself to others. It’s freeing!
I encourage you to memorize 1 Corinthians 4:1-5:
So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.
Jean E. and I quote these verses to each other regularly. Sometimes to drive the point home we even reverse the intent: “I care very much if I’m judged by you or any human court. In fact, I even judge myself by your opinion of me.” These verses help us remember that we must be faithful over what God has entrusted us, and that, at The End of All Things, only His opinion matters.