The Upside Down Life

After they arrived at Capernaum and settled in a house, Jesus asked his disciples, “What were you discussing out on the road?” But they didn’t answer, because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”
Then he put a little child among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me.”
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So Jesus called them together and said,“You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different.
Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. 
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
-Mark 9:33-37, 10:42-45 (NLT)

I had a dream that I was driving my car and I came to a place where something happened, and my car became upside down.  It was stuck there.  I was ok and it wasn't an accident.  It seemed to happen on purpose.  I tried to call someone from my car, then I was in a man's room, apartment or office; with big windows and I looked down at my car, and called my parents.

This was not a good dream, but it was not a bad dream.  It was a peculiar dream.  I prayed about it.  I told my wife and my best friend about it.  I knew that God only gives us bad news in a dream if we need it, so from him, it is really good news to wake us up to something.  About a day and a half went by, and I received a possible interpretation.  Maybe, the dream was about living the upside down life?

Jesus' message was the kingdom of God.  Things in the kingdom are the opposite of the world, and I want to be following the kingdom's values and not the world's.  So, if you want to go up, you must go down.  If you want lots of stuff, you have to give away lots of stuff.  And if you want to be a leader, even for good reasons, being that God has given you gifts and wisdom to minister to others; the path is servanthood and even being the slave to all.

I could have chosen many verses to illustrate the idea of the upside down life, like "the first will be last and the last will be first", "blessed are the poor in spirit", "love your enemies and do good to those who spitefully use you", "give and it shall be given", "take up your cross and die", "unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains", "humble yourself", "give to anyone who asks of you", "turn the other cheek", "forgive seventy times seven", "give your gifts in private", and "don't worry".  But I chose these words of Jesus about servanthood.

And look at what Jesus says about serving children, welcoming them in his name.  He says that he will bless you in a special way for welcoming them, because you are welcoming him.  Yes, he loves the children.  Children represent those who cannot give you fame or fortune.

As I ponder the two stories I quoted above, from Mark, I am encouraged that the life of servanthood that he calls me to was somewhat bewildering to the first disciples and it feels that way to me sometimes.  Like the first disciples, I want to follow him and I believe in him with all my heart, but I also need to be reminded that Jesus whole style or way of life, including leadership and service is backwards or upside down from the world.


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