And he’s your servant. He takes care of your greatest need by giving you forgiveness and eter-nal life.
Then, “[Jesus] 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.’” Does it fill you with joy how often Jesus seems to be surrounded by children? Is that so fitting? That he can just pull them into an embrace, and talk to them, and bless them. How fitting is it that Jesus loves children that much! He uses one of them as an example. Jesus wants his disciples to see how much he, the servant of all cares about even just one person, even just this child. They can take their focus off of themselves, and put it onto a little one like this.
You have been served by Jesus, the servant of all, the one who is first because he became last, and now he points out how you can do the same. You don’t need to focus on who is the greatest. Instead, you can focus on the little ones, welcoming them in Jesus’s name and so welcoming Jesus himself—and even the Father. Who are these little ones? They aren’t just children. They’re the weak in the faith who need your encouragement. They’re the sick who need your words of comfort. They’re the ones who have gone astray. I bet you can think of someone who you haven’t seen in church for a while. And of course, they’re the children. Have you considered how they think and feel? Have you considered what example you are setting for them? They are the ones Jesus would have you serve, and by serving them you serve God.
While I was preparing this sermon, Pastor Degner and Pastor Nass reminded me of an excellent motto: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” That’s what Jesus wants you keep in mind, too. He doesn’t want you to think you’re worthless or useless, in fact, he wants you to forget yourself. He wants you to put your focus on serving those who need to be served—to feel what they feel, to know their needs. Who is the greatest? It doesn’t need to be me or you. We don’t even need to worry about the question. We can put our focus on those who need our service and finding the way to help. Spend some time thinking about that this week. Who is someone that needs your service? You serve your Lord by serving them. Amen.