Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, “What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?” But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest. And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”
Do we think that the conversations we have among ourselves, or in our heads are somehow hidden from God. Walking along with Jesus, the disciples had been arguing with each other about who was most important. When Jesus put it to them so bluntly they were embarrassed and ashamed.
He sat down with them, and explained that in the Kingdom of God, in the place where God rules, in the heart that is subject to the reign of God, greatness can never be found in comparison with God. This was the sin of Satan, who pridefully considered his beauty and power and imagined that it was his own, rather than a reflection of that of God.
In the Kingdom of God, greatness is only found in humility and service. Jesus tells them, the one who is greatest makes himself the servant, the deacon it says in Greek, of all. And elsewhere, the Lord Jesus, God himself, says that he came to be the servant, the deacon, of all. It is in following his own example of self-sacrifice and obedience in service that we discover the greatness experience in union with the divine life and love.
We need to be very clear on this point. As soon as we start to seek a greatness in ourselves and for ourselves then we separate ourselves from God. There is no true greatness, no real success or achievement in life, which is not based on service to God and to others. Nor is the service which Jesus speaks of simply an opportunity for us to seek self-importance under the name of service. This can especially be a temptation for those who have any service in the church which comes with a rank or title. When we find satisfaction in a title we have received all the reward that we are due, and it will not last to eternity.
This service of which the Lord Jesus speaks, his own deacon service, is one that leads to the cross, and to the death of self. To always put others first. To volunteer quickly for the job that no-one wants. To be silent when a job that everyone wants is offered. To clean and keep the Church tidy. To help people without advertising the fact. To offer a humble service to all without even expecting thanks or recognition from others. To not consider ourselves worthy of any rank or title, and not to seek any for ourselves.
Those who live in such a way become truly great, filled with the divine life and love, moved by the divine energy, united with God by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Nothing else matters when we have begun to experience this life with God by grace. Everything else fades into second place for the sake of experiencing it even more.