As I’m sure everyone knows, the Olympics just finished a week ago in Beijing. Most of us probably watched a number of competitions during the last couple weeks, and now the festivities are over. And when you think of the athletes, I’m sure many things stand out, but one thing inevitably does. If you are an Olympic athlete, you most likely desire to be first. That’s the whole idea of a sports competition. That’s why they give out medals. That’s why they keep world records. You train, and you work hard, you get coaching, and you do that over and over again for years, until you finally compete, and you desire and hope to be first. That’s not only natural, but it’s certainly a good desire. There’s nothing wrong in one sense to want to excel in whatever you do, especially in a sports competition.
But what about the disciples here? We find them having a competitive attitude with each other. Jesus catches them arguing among themselves about who is the greatest. And Jesus then even instructs them on how to be first. Well, is this desire by the disciples a good desire or a bad one? Was it good that they wanted to be first or bad? What does Jesus think about this?
Passage: Mark 9:30-37
Author: Rev. W. Reid Hankins, M.Div.
Sermon originally preached during the Morning Service at Trinity Presbyterian Church (OPC) on 08/31/2008 in Novato, CA.