D. A. Carson writes: “Here, then, is an image of greatness in the kingdom that shatters our pretensions, abases our pride, shames our selfish aspirations… Those who aspire to ecclesiastical heights and great reputations need to reflect at length on these words: ‘Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven'” (January 18).
This strikes me very hard because I feel like I aspire to ecclesiastical heights and a great reputation. I want to make an impact for the kingdom. I want to exalt God. I want to be used by God. Those are all good desires. But I feel mixed with those the desires for personal exaltation, the praise of Christian brothers and sisters who love God and his Word. I feel that desire in me. I don’t know how much of it is there in comparison with the good desire. I don’t think I need to know the difference. I need to heed God’s word to me, “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” This means I need to pursue and desire, with all my might, the greatness that Jesus describes here. The greatness of humility. The greatness of child-like trust in God and his words. The greatness of not seeking the praise of men but prizing the pleasure of God.
I feel this temptation as I’m doing the internship here at Capitol Hill Baptist Church. I don’t want to dishonor God. I want to be great in God’s eyes. I also want to be great in man’s eyes, albeit Christian eyes. Whichever one I want more will win and express itself in my life, my papers, my conversations, my relationships, my discussions, my dreaming of the future, and my thoughts about the church back home. I want to plant or lead a church to health and gospel fruit. Please pray and encourage me to pursue humility, child-like dependence, the pleasure of God, and greatness according to Christ’s standards.