Honestly, being least is the last thing we want to be. Sometimes we’re scared of it more than we do death. And yet, it’s among the foremost teachings of the Lord–and among his powerful blessings to those who believe.
“Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.” [Luke 9.48]
I used to be a slave to people’s standards. Though most people will never admit other people’s greatness, they will impose their standard of greatness on them. They will negate (or even mock) your definition of life and success and impose theirs on you.
They will define everything for you.
It was scary being unable to measure up to their standards. You cannot be just average. You cannot be yourself. It was a mortal sin to be so, like you have become so useless to humanity, doomed to perdition.
But that was before.
Since I realized the Kingdom principle of being least, I have been freed. Now, I can be myself, the way God made me to be. I can look inside me and see what God has put there and work on that at the pace God has put in my mechanism. Now I can say meaningfully, “It’s my life.”
We fear looking inside of us because we might discover the truth God has prepared exclusively for us there and become different from others. We fear seeing something there people may not like. Rather, we feel comfortable comparing ourselves with others and seeing that what we’re doing and thinking is no different from theirs.
We fear failing their expectations and being deemed a weakling or a loser. We fear being dismissed as substandard or inferior–as being least. So we do what we can to be among the great, to be recognized or be deemed important to earn their applause. Even the church falls into this trap that’s why it cannot reach greatness in God’s Kingdom but only in the world.
We fear because we don’t believe Christ when he said the least shall be the greatest. We mouth our belief in it–recite the passage–but inside we frown at it. Be least? You mean, be the very last one in line–the last choice–when someone is looking for popularity or fame or commendation?
But really, it’s the key to our freedom. Once we overcome the fear of being disliked by men, we can start focusing on pleasing only God. And God’s not looking for greatness. He is looking for the least to make them great, not in the eyes of men, but in his eyes.
And anyway, do you really believe that someone can be great? Greatness is just an illusion. Truth is, only God is great. You only get a semblance of greatness once God’s grace makes you appear so. And if you get that semblance, there’s still no reason why you should think it’s because you’re great.
He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. [Daniel 2.21]
It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another. [Psalm 75.7]
The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. [1 Samuel 2.7]
Another version of 1 Samuel 2.7: “The LORD makes some poor and others rich; he brings some down and lifts others up.”
A person can receive only what is given him from heaven. [John 3.27]
Paul summarized it all in these words:
For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? [1 Corinthians 4.7]
A great part of being of the Kingdom is learning to accept being least and getting comfortable about it. You don’t have to prove anything to yourself or to anyone. You don’t have to insist yourself on anyone as well–because you’re the least. Only the least is able to enter God’s rest.
Once you can be peaceful with the simple plan of God for you–and you desire nothing but that–then you have conquered the greatest obstacle to freedom. That’s the greatest conquest of all.