Jesus has said he was going to suffer and they want to talk about who is the greatest. Perhaps Jesus mentioned one of them would betray him and they all argued at who it would be. Whatever actually happened the whole team were battling over their positions. Even Peter, James and John who had been chosen to go up the mountain of transfiguration were not content to be in the close circle of Jesus, they too wanted to be number 1. They were full of ambition. Still today even leaders want to be a higher leader, members want to be pastors, Pastors want to be apostles, apostles want to be bishops, bishops want to be archbishops and archbishops want to be Popes. That’s in the church but it is everywhere. Naked, raw ambition, climb the ladder, get to the top, it is better up there. Ambition is a killer of the church.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. (Matthew 18 v 1-5)
Here are 5 actions to take to avoid selfish ambition:
- Stop looking in the mirror – Find another visual aid other than yourself. Jesus brought a little child amongst them.
- Have some self-awareness – This might sound strange because it is an inflated self-awareness that leads to desires of greatness. Jesus told them to change. Unless we change where we are sitting and get a different perspective we will miss the point. How do people experience me? This is the question that leads to self-awareness.
- Become vulnerable again – Acknowledge you don’t know it all, have it all and can do it all. You need others in your life and you need Him. This child was dependent on parents, had many things to learn and was incapable of doing life their way.
- Practice lowliness – From a lowly humble position comes lowly thinking, lowly speech and lowly actions.
- Honour those beneath you – Welcome a child, Jesus says and if you do then you will welcome Him. The presence and the power of the Lord is always to be found in the unlikeliest of places and not on the stages of this world.