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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Today’s Reading | Mark 9:33–37

Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.” (NRSV)


We’ve all had those days. We have all experienced the feeling of being caught up in “the race”—for the best things, the highest honors, the greatest job, the ideal relationship. We set our goals, and then we charge after them, entering the lifelong competition, tracking our accomplishments and defining our self-worth by how we stack up against our friends, colleagues, and enemies. I’m guilty.

And just when I think my place in the race is secure, that I’m a contender, I come across someone who has, in my eyes, done so much more with his or her life—who’s traveled the world, owns three homes, has a fabulous job and a boat—and my spirits sink. I suddenly feel like I’m dead last in the race, way behind where I should be in life. And my mind starts telling me I’m not good enough.

I love Mark 9:33–37 because it completely changes the yardstick! Jesus can’t be any clearer in this passage. With his words “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all,” he encourages us to step out of the race (and out of ourselves) and focus on the simple command God gave us: to do our best to love, serve, and welcome one another in his name. And just like that, I am reminded of what’s most important.


Lord, when I’m feeling overwhelmed by the standards I set for myself and the comparisons I make to others, remind me that your standards are the only ones that matter and that your love for me is unfailing. Amen.

Written by Patty Donmoyer, Receptionist

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