Monday, July 02, 2007

small fries

A guest preacher spoke this weekend at my church, on account of our regular teaching pastor had an injury. Dr. Rick Thompson brought up the apostolic bickering that occurred around the time of the Last Supper. He noted that Jesus did not rebuke his followers for wanting to be the greatest. Instead of discouraging it, He explained how to become the greatest of His followers. The path to greatness is to be like the youngest.


Rather than giving you Dr. Thompson's notes, I thought it might be neat to open up a discussion, exploring what people think Jesus meant by that phrase. If you want the text, it is found in Luke 22:24-27.


What does it mean to "become as the youngest?"
Image: the children of my friend, Ryo Iwahashi



Thank you for your comment on my photo blog.
It's nice to see you there come often...every day a new picture...this week it's only pictures about representations.

See you soon

Pete Juvinall said...

It seems that the younger you are, the less you are entagled by the cares, or distractions, of the world.

Truely great followers of Jesus are people who understand just how frail, stupid, and awkward they are at their heart.

York Moore, I think, said it best during Urbana when he mentioned that he still has to go home and clean toilets and however 'great' he may become his job is to clean the toilet in his house.

The problem with gaining a following and become famous in Christian circles is that it's so easy to be distracted, so easy to try and gain something temporal and it would strike me that children don't necessairly care about distractions. If they're doing something, their concept of doing it is pretty narrow.

Lifelong Learner said...

In our mission, when we have been commissioned and approved to work overseas, there is a ceremony in which we are called to the front, and a trustee uses a shoe brush to clean our shoes. As he does this, he prays a prayer of blessing over us, which is specific to our family, our needs, and the place we are serving.

For us it was a very touching ceremony. To see our leaders on their knees in front of us, serving us, praying for us. Servant leadership. It created a need in us to want to be worthy of that service and kindness.

Craver Vii said...

Merci, Monsieur Laurent!

Great, Pete and Stacy; that's what I'm looking for.

Where is everybody else?... The silence is driving me nuts. I'm seconds away from singing a sad country or blues song. Don't make me cry.

When I think of the youngest in a group, I think of someone who expects to have a lowly position and not preeminence. He will be the one to stand up and offer his seat, hold the door for the others, fetch things, speak to others respectfully, and hold his tongue as he allows others to speak. The youngest is more likely to listen for wisdom than speak his mind. The youngest would be quicker to admit his inabilities, shortcomings and need. He asks for help, etc. That is what I think it means to assume the attitude of the youngest in a group.


Anonymous said...

Good question indeed!
I looked up the Strong's Greek definition, which noted: "... “new”, that is, (of persons) youthful, or (of things) fresh; figuratively regenerate: - new, young."
Then Matthew Henry's reference, which echoes what you wrote, and with which I agree (and I quote here, only in part):
"What was the example which he himself gave to this rule: Whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat or he that serveth? he that attendeth or he that is attended on? Now Christ was among his disciples just like one that waited at table. He was so far from taking state, or taking his ease, by commanding their attendance upon him, that he was ready to do any office of kindness and service for them; witness his washing their feet. Shall those take upon them the form of princes who call themselves followers of him that took upon him the form of a servant?"

Btw, I suspect the deafening silence in the blogdom is just holiday preparations, visitors, travel and related busy-ness.

Anonymous said...

I should add that as I type this, I am watching my 86-year-old dad play with my 4-year-old daughter at the kitchen table, and it is somewhat representative to me of the point of your post. My elder (and well-educated) father taking interest in the simple life and pleasures of my daughter in her innocence.

spaghettipie said...

Sorry for the quiet. I wanted to give you a well thought out answer, (well, okay, at least a partially thought out answer...) but I just haven't had the brain power. With a little time off today, I'll craft some thoughts.

Shammickite said...

Thanks for your good wishes on my retirement, I'm already enjoying being at home when everyone else is at work!
I haven't been blogging for a few days, we have had a long weekend Strawberry Festival to celebrate Canada Day, lot's of things to do, people to see, check it out on my blog..... and Happy 4th of July!

Unknown said...

Youngest/child...I think it means that we trust without doubt, see the beauty in the life God has given us, not to worry (how many worried kids have you seen?, to not complicate things....

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

From the point of view of the eldest child, the youngest one was the one I fought for, protected, chased the monsters out of her closet and from under her bed and the once I still listen to (endlessly it seems sometimes) when she's feeling down or blue or just wants her big sis to listen - so, the youngest child - the one that depends on the faithfulness and love of the eldest.

Jennifer said...

Hello! Oh, how I've missed your blog, Craver! I just haven't been in the blogosphere much (or at all) lately.

And what a good discussion; I like seeing everyone's answers.

I like the illustration of how children have nothing to offer. They are utterly helpless apart from a protector and provider.
How can I claim greatness if I have no greatness--originating from myself--to offer? It leaves me humble, dependant on grace, and thankful to God - with the ripple effect of the desire to serve and bless others.

Wellp, that's all I got.

Craver Vii said...

And tireless! They seem to have boundless energy. (Oh, my aching back! Note to self: Next time, send Mrs. Craver to go swimming with them.)

Susan, I appreciate the comments. Yes, the holiday sounds like a good reason to expect diminished comments, but it did work that way for you, did it?

Spaghettipie, no brain power? Your blog's great new layout suggests otherwise.

Ex-Shammy, those are some really fun pictures I saw today! I'll try to leave a comment later. Folks, if you haven't seen it, she just wrapped up an A to Z series of posts. The last of these (Z) coincided with her retirement. Congratulations!

Simple trust. Eve, that's perfect! That is an important element of youthfulness I was hoping to hear.

Halfmom recovered her old blog... hooray! But I see you are going with your new (younger) blog. ;-)

Craver Vii said...

*peering intently*
*rubbing eyes*

Hibby? I thought you had been abducted by aliens. It's so nice to see you back in the 'sphere. I think I have something in my eye. (sniff) Someone please hand me a tissue.

Utterly helpless, etc. Brilliant! That whole paragraph is so well stated!! Welcome back der Minnesota gal, eh.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

ahh - so now I see the 7 - better than the 7 deadly sins for sure

I couldn't figure out how to merge the blogs to go back to the old one or switch all to the new one - so I thought I'd just wait until Marcus comes back from galavanting and see if he can figure it out.

Children - I'm getting so old I have to stop and remember - they were really needy and not very disciplined and my gosh, they would pretty much believe anything their dad would tell them. In fact, once, when I went out of town on a women's retreat, he had them working in the gardens (quite large) all day - and they gushed about how much fun they were having! So, devotion to the father, for sure!

spaghettipie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
spaghettipie said...

Ah, the blog renovation did not use much brain power...and glad you liked it.

Here are some thoughts:
1) Children want to imitate their parents. They want to be like them.
2) For young children, their dad is usually their hero. He makes them feel safe.
3) As it's been mentioned, they are completely dependent upon those caring for them for survival.
4) The giggle with delight at everything...a lot.
5) They approach life with a sense of wonder and awe, with a desire to explore and experience and learn.
6) They aren't afraid to ask questions, to share their feelings openly (happy, mad, scared...).
7) They typically don't discriminate based upon race, income level, degrees, etc.

The other thought I had about this is from a slightly different angle. From what I remember, children were regarded as the lowest member of the totem pole in society. They were not privileged and protected. So, while I do agree that it's good for us to take on characteristics of children, like we've been discussing, I also wonder if Jesus is saying, "To follow me, you have to be willing to be the outcasts, the rejected, the persecuted of society. You will suffer because of Me. You're arguing over how great you want to become, but that's not the point." I think it follows along the thinking of Jews that Jesus would be a great warrior Savior who would ride in on a white horse with a great army and save them. "Greatness" doesn't always come in the form we think it does. It does not always equal success, acceptance, privilege or luxury.
Thanks. As usual, you've challenged me to think...

Lifelong Learner said...

"The first shall be last and the last shall be first" is a concept my son learned in third grade. He had an awesome teacher (to this day, she still finds him on his birthday to tell him happy birthday, and he's in 8th grade!), and she noticed that he always stood back and waited at the end of the day when everyone was in a rush to get their book bags and run out the door. He also did this at recess, when putting his papers away, etc. So, for a week, she made it a point to make the rest of the class sit while he went to recess, got his bookbag at the end of the day, because "the first shall be last and the last shall be first." You know, it is something he and his classmates still remember. It really resonated with them, and you can hear them say it to each other even now.

On the one hand we have servant leadership, with the one with the highest position modeling how to serve others, and in this case, we had the other side of things with the servant being raised in status, if even for a short time, because of his willingness to put others first.

What it did for these kids was to reinforce the importance of putting the needs of others before themselves, because there are bigger rewards (though not necessarily monetary) in those types of actions.

I love that teacher.

lorenzothellama said...

I have always felt that it is the same as to 'become like children'. Children are innocent and believe without questioning the things their parents tell them. I think this is what Jesus meant. That we have to believe what our Father is telling us through Jesus.
At one time I studied a lot of theology and really fancied myself as an authority. You know, somehow 'special'. Now I realize how ridiculous I was and now I know that I know nothing. Nothing at all. I just keep going to Mass knowing only that I need to. I don't question much because I know there are no answers. However fundamentalist people become, they still don't KNOW. They can only FEEL. Scientists and atheists also don't KNOW although they do have more to go on than the fundamentalists. My brother is a scientists and born again atheist and I respect him enormously. I never try to convert anyone as I am too busy trying to convince myself.

Craver Vii said...

'Renzo, thanks for sharing. I have a completely different take on what we know and what we feel. Let me know how this sounds to you.

John's gospel records a prayer (ch. 17) from Jesus to the Father. In it, he expresses a desire that we would know the Father and the Son.

John is believed to be the youngest of the twelve. He is sometimes called the disciple whom Jesus loved. Here is what he said: "Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life." 1st John 5:12-13 (emphasis mine)

So I would say that sound doctrine is important, but after knowing the essentials, our attitude must be clothed in humility, if we desire greatness according to the way Jesus measures greatness.

lorenzothellama said...

Mmm. Still thinking about what you have just said Craver.

All Blog Spots said...

nice blog

Craver Vii said...


Lifelong Learner said...

Hey. All blogs said that to me, too.

Craver Vii said...

Don't worry. I'm sure it is a legitimate and heartfelt compliment that some body thought through very well, and not some sleazy marketing ploy that we should be able to see right through.

(Reality sets in.)

Oh my. I feel so... cheap! They probably didn't even LOOK at my blog.

I need to go have some chocolate now...

Ted M. Gossard said...

Craver, Wow, what a nice array of comments and commenters you always seem to have!

I did see this post sometime back and thought that the only way I'd want to respond is if I could do some work on it myself. It's a good question, and I think I read a worked out solution to it sometime back, from a biblically scholarly level.

But still didn't do that, and lack time. To become the youngest might mean something like to be dependent and in special relationship to those in whom the youngest are dependent on. It certainly would involve looking up to them, and being willing and eager to learn, like an apprentice. It would echo something of what David did in Psalm 131 where he talks about his soul being like a weaned child with its mother, content and satisfied....

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

to add to Ted's comment - the weaned child can sit still, content and satisfied because there is no doubt in his/her mind at all that all needs will be met and on time - so they peacefully wait, without fear or doubt - maybe that is what it means to be the youngest child because you not only know this by your own experience but because you've seen proof of it in your siblings.

Now, for pity sakes - I would like something new to read - so, could you please post something new? I'm writing a grant so need some good distractions to let my brain rest.

Craver Vii said...

Everything in its season, Halfmom. The flower which is to be my next post is not yet ready to blossom. (Actually, I ain't got nothin' yet.)

I logged on at 7:07 pm this evening. And today is 07/07/07. It would have been better though, if it were 7 AM instead of PM, because 7:07 pm is 19:07.

Eh, whatever. It all comes to nothing. I'm just killing time waiting for window sealant to cure.

I wonder how the party is going at LL Barkat's blog...

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

We're going to play Twister now that Ted has taken off his black socks.

So, how about, since you're bored, coming over to my site and leaving some serious comments to get the game started - a challenge from Lorenzo the Llama and I'd like your help as you seem to be everysomuch better at soliciting comments than I am!

MamaToo said...

Love this post. I come here often, but rarely think I have anything more to contribute than your other brilliant visitors!

I appreciate your insight of John's possible "youngest" position in the twelve. I think very young children, similar to John, are capable of wholly receiving another's love. As we get older, we often like to think we've earned love or that we're worthy. We make love a transaction, and it's hard to receive a gift without merit. I think Jesus is pointing out (among many things already mentioned) that we must be able & willing to receive a love we could never earn.
Young children (I think the language indicates "very young" or "infant") receive love readily. So does John, when he describes himself as one Jesus loved.