Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Fisherman's Net for Sunday, October 18, Proper 24B, 21st Sunday after Pentecost

So Jesus called them and said to them, "You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Mark 10: 42-45)
Most of us live in a culture of success. We grew up with the ideal that striving to be great, not just good, was the chief aim of life, or at least would be the manner in which we would be defined and affirmed as "good enough." That is, opposed to "not good enough." You might contend and say that you were raised without those values hanging over your head...or worse that you were raised in a situation where even your best was not going to be seen as good at all, much less enough? Even then, the culture of success hangs over you like Damocles' sword. It's just not as visible, but it's still there.

We struggle with success because we have little else in today's world that puts so much value on...well...value that without that metric we lack any firm ground on which to found our self (and our sense of self-worth). Look around, and look within....it's about more than winning or being triumphant over and against someone. It's about being "great."

Oh, what a word that is! Anyone can be good....but only a few get to be called "great." That is such a rare thing that even the largest halls of fame are never really quite full. More proof? Look on YouTube....the most saturated genre for videos has to be "10 Best....." lists.

Being great matters in our culture, and it has for a long time. Being great means that people know who you are, that you will be remembered, respected and perhaps even revered. Being great means more than being celebrated. It means being something more than the every day...and in some ways it is about as exalted as anyone can hope to aspire to in their time in this life.....

Still, whether you are an aspiring ball player....or a disciple of Christ, to desire greatness is to chase a hollow dream. It's not until you find in Christ the call he offers....that true greatness is forged from the sacrifice of a humble spirit and the willingness to give it all over for the service of the Good News that the pallor of success culture withers in the light of the great, truly great, love of God (or, in the case of Roy Hobbs....for the purity of the game).

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