A Rewarding Experience
Growing up I loved stories. It did not matter if they were read to me or if I read them myself; I thoroughly enjoyed the life lessons that I could learn and apply to my own life. One such story regaled the audience of a young boy name Wilfred and a girl named Gwen who were bored during their school holidays. Tired of their toys, they decided to call themselves ‘The Surprise Package Company’ and set about their neighbourhood finding people who needed things done for them. Their sole aim was to help without getting caught.
This story captured my imagination and I recall attempting to run this sort of secret help agency myself on a small number of occasions and having lots of fun while doing so.
In a world that suggests we should focus on our needs with an ever increasing regularity, I’ve found that it is easy to get caught up in the ‘me first’ mentality where we strive to have the latest smartphone, to be seen wearing that brand, to be first in line, to have a better car or a bigger house. Though we all want the best for our friends, the pursuit of things at some point sees us comparing ourselves against others and competing with our friends.
The story found in Mark 9:33-35 shows that this is not a new way of thinking. In this short passage we see that Jesus’ disciples are discussing which one of them is the greatest and just one chapter later we find James and John asking Jesus to give them positions of favour over the others (10:35-45). Rather than rebuking them for wanting to be great, Jesus instead flipped their formula for being great:
“Whoever wants to be greatest of all must be the servant of all. For even I am not here to be served, but to help others…” (Mark 10:44,45)
Like the disciples, I too have a tendency to use a human measurement for greatness. As a result, I invariably suffer from feelings of being inadequate - I do not have what it takes to be a good parent, to be a good friend or even to do a good job of tasks that I have been given to do at work.
Mercifully, God thinks very differently about us than we do. He tells us that we have been made in his image (Genesis 1:27), that we are blessed with unique gifts and talents (1 Peter 4:10) and that we are called to serve others (Colossians 3:23) just as Jesus did in his time here on Earth.
To skip to the end of the story, after a period of time Wilfred and Gwen were caught during one of their acts of service by the local town doctor. The two children were given their own surprise gifts without knowing who had discovered their secret. Thankfully, Jesus makes no secret of the reward that awaits those that humble themselves and follow his example (Colossians 3:24; Matthew 10:42; Galatians 6:8,9) for greatness comes through service to others.
I pray that we in our community, by looking to Jesus as our example, can turn our focus to those beyond ourselves so that way we can experience happiness and a sense of value that is as God intended.
Mr Darren Martin
Deputy Principal Secondary