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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood


Lessons From a Little Boy

He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” (Mark 9:36,37 NIV)

As they walked with Jesus to Capernaum from the Mount of Transfiguration, the disciples argued among themselves as to ranking. Who’s the greatest?

When Jesus asked them what they had been debating, they were too ashamed to answer Him. But Jesus always knows what’s going on — even when we don’t want to tell Him. He responded to them by saying that those who desire position in His kingdom must be servants.

Too often religious leaders adopt an opposite attitude. They try to lead from a standpoint of “My way or the highway,” saying, “I’m God’s anointed and if you don’t like the way I’m leading, then you know where the door is.” Jesus clearly told His disciples not to lord it over others (10:42).

In his classic children’s book, Dr. Seuss spins out the story of Yertle the Turtle. Yertle lives in a pond and cannot see much. He wants to be higher and he calls turtles to stack up so he can be on top. The pile of turtles keeps getting higher and higher, and Yertle keeps demanding more so that his throne can be higher yet. The poor turtle at the bottom of the pile, named Mack, groans each time another volume of turtles is added to the stack. Yertle is happy, but Mack is miserable. Finally, Mack burps. Yertle falls off his throne and splats into the mud. All the turtles are happy again.

Overbearing leaders cause misery in those they lead. Instead of desiring to be supported at the top by others, Jesus says, Oh no. I’m not putting you in position so that others can support you — I’m giving you leadership so that you might support others.

To illustrate this principle, Jesus used a small boy and stood him in the midst of the disciples. At first flush, what Jesus did and said here seems to bear no resemblance to the issue at hand — who is the greatest? What does welcoming a child have to do with being servant of all?

I think Jesus is saying that if you are in leadership then you had better pay attention to the little people. Greatness is how you care for the people who don’t have position, wealth, title or office.

Additionally, there is value in seeing Jesus folding a child in His arms as a lesson we all need to follow. Christ gives us an example of the importance of taking the next generation into our arms.

In our culture it’s very easy, even for adult Christians, to elect to do the things that bring us personal fulfillment and recreation. Why is it that local churches often have such difficulty in securing volunteers who will faithfully work with children and youth? Every church could be filled with children and young people if adults were willing to take on the responsibility.

Jesus is saying that when you don’t take the next generation into your arms, you’re not receiving Him; and if you are not receiving Him, then you are not receiving the Father who sent Him.

Pretty tough words about our duties to boys and girls, young men and women!

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, help me to open my arms and my time to children. Help me concentrate on how best I can serve others, especially the young.

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

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2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

2011 On Your Mark

2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark

Podcasts of On Your Mark are available in video and audio.
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