URC Daily Devotion Wednesday 16 February 2022

Wednesday 16 February 2022
St Luke 9: 46 – 48
An argument arose among them as to which one of them was the greatest.  But Jesus, aware of their inner thoughts, took a little child and put it by his side,  and said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.’

Jesus punctures the balloon of puffed-up pomposity which was noisily inflating itself alongside him.  Preening disciples argue and bicker about their status based on who-knows-what measure of discipleship worth they had most recently seized upon. You can almost hear the hiss of air escaping their self-important windbag egos as Jesus picks up a child and sets her in their midst.  Whoever welcomes this child…

There is much scholarly argument about the precise status of children in first century Palestine, this isn’t the place to add to that, but it’s fairly obvious that these disciples had an understanding of their own status that would eclipse the status of a child. It is an ego-deflating experience!  

There are at the very least ECHOES here of Jesus talking about the sheep and the goats – all the interactions with the poor, the imprisoned, the hungry, the thirsty, the naked – whatsoever you did for the least of my brothers, you did it for me.  The “sheep” were so unconcerned with questions about their own status that they hadn’t really noticed they had done ANYTHING for Jesus.  The “goats” would have helped the hungry if only they’d known it would have been Jesus they were helping!  Whoever welcomes this child in my name, welcomes me.

It’s hard to imagine anything quite as blatant as this amongst URC members.  Of course we are obsessed by status, but we are not usually clumsy or crass enough to argue about it out loud in public!  Perhaps it’s because we know the ending – “for the least among all of you is the greatest”.  We are FAR more likely to be found humble-bragging about being the LEAST (knowing that this means we are the greatest!)  I suspect Jesus would be onto that!

Loving God, take your pin and puncture my pomposity;
Burst the balloon of my bloated self-importance.
Lead us in your ways of faith and wisdom,
that we may learn to truly see and hear,
and in humility find blessing. Amen.


Today’s writer

The Rev’d Phil Nevard is Minister of Sawston, Whittlesford & Castle Camps


New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Copyright © 2022 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you have subscribed to the Daily Devotions from the United Reformed Church. You can unsubscribe by clicking on the link below.

Our mailing address is:

United Reformed Church

86 Tavistock Place

London, WC1H 9RT

United Kingdom

Add us to your address book