3rd Thursday after Pentecost

“I am the greatest,” said Muhammad Ali before his match with Sonny Liston. Michael Phelps is the greatest. Usain Bolt is the greatest. They can’t all be the greatest. Yet, Muhammad Ali was the greatest boxer, for a time. Michael Phelps remains the greatest Olympic swimmer, for the time being. Usain Bolt remains the greatest Olympic sprinter, for the time being. The New England Patriots remain the greatest football team, and Tom Brady the greatest NFL quarterback. For now. Wayne Gretzky’s nickname is, “the Great One.” Sports is easy. We could go with presidents, whether those who think they were (or are) the greatest or those who disputably were. We could even argue over the greatest country.
But, why?
Jesus’ chiding of his friends (and disciples) wasn’t just, “be nice and humble.” It was, “knock it off. Now!”
Part of the lording over is the lifting of self over others. Jesus turns that upside down. The greatest is the one with the heart of a servant. Jesus called on his friends (and us) to not define ourselves by the power struggles of the world, society, or even our framily. We can look around ourselves and see that we often react to the power struggles between others and even within ourselves.
This is why Paul’s words are applicable to our lives. We often grasp for what we do not have. That, sadly, is part of the American “Dream”. Stuff, power, influence, wealth are all good things in small measures. Yet, we often strive for more to the detriment of ourselves and our family. Is it all really worth it in the end?
Jesus and Paul certainly didn’t think so.
1) Where do you find yourself struggling for “more”?
2) Where do you find yourself struggling against the power of others over you?
3) How do Jesus’ and Paul’s words apply to your situation?

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