24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.
Thoughts: Roman Senators and rulers would be benefactors out of self-interest in order to rise in power. They would tax one people in order to give to another, and then make those to whom they have given submit to them. Their beneficence was out of selfishness in order to get the esteem of people. Jesus seeks us to seek the esteem and applause of God. When we serve others for the glory of God, we bring greatness to God and the kingdom of God. The reward is not found here, but in simply serving God and seeking to please Him. We may succeed temporarily- for a few years if we seek the applause of others. But we succeed permanently if we seek to please the eternal God.
Violet Large has cancer and is a retired cosmetic director and Allen, her husband of 36 years, is a retired steel worker. They won a $11.2 million lottery, but decided to live simply in the same old house and give all their winnings to family and charity. They gave money to churches, hospitals, the Salvation Army. They are an example to us all of people who have learned to be content with what they have. I am not a believer in the lottery- and too many think the lottery is a way to get rich quick- and not work. But the Larges can show us that money is not just for selfish uses, and that we should be content with what we have.
Prayer: Give me grace, Lord, to live for your glory and not for mine.
John Calvin abridged: Christ seeks to distinguish between the spiritual government of the Church and the empires of the world. Even godly princes (like David and Hezekiah) would use royal symbols- a scepter, a throne, a crown- to distinguish between themselves and others that they served. But ministers are to have no such symbols.