Devotional Reading from the Daily Common Lectionary: Matthew 18: 1-14
Text: At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (v. 1)
The question of “greatness” and “greatest” is raised time and again by the disciples. At some level we all want to be “the greatest”, “the best”, “exceptional.” And, we are, in the sight of God. But that is not what the disciples were asking in our reading.
I once read that competition brings out the best in products but the worst in people. The old Faustian myth of “selling your soul” to the devil is as relevant today as it was then. What is the price that we are willing to pay for greatness? Neglect our loves ones, the one to whom we committed our lives? Are we willing to cheat? Take advantage of another person? Look for loopholes? You know, that not everything that is legal is necessarily ethical or moral. How much of your soul are you willing to sell?
Jesus answered the disciples’ question by saying in part that anyone who causes a weaker person to stumble or to fall can never be great–at least not in the eyes of God. Because you see, since the days of Cain and Able, God has heard the blood of Able crying out from the ground. God sees the evil and that we and the evil that resides in the human heart. God knows.
Like the Prodigal Father in Luke’s gospel, God is waiting for us to “come to ourselves”, recover our senses and remember Whose we are. And God is ready to forgive. But first you have to ask yourself, “How much of my soul am I willing to sell to be great?”
God, give me a wise mind. Make me answer truthfully the Faustian question? And give me the strength I need to be faithful to You. Amen.