This past Friday night, I was able to volunteer with some friends at something called Friday Kids Respite. This program is for parents who have kids with severe disabilities. Every other Friday, the parents can bring their children to this center where volunteers play with them for 3-4 hours, and the parents can have a night for themselves.
To be honest, I can’t wait to go back—not only because they had an impressive selection of toys (My personal favorite: jumbo-sized Legos), but also because the kids at that center truly touched my life. I mean, they’re kids, they’re cute, they jump all over you, they’re easily coerced into building a masterpiece of infrastructure out of jumbo-sized Legos with you, so you can mask your juvenile tendencies. They made me happy, that’s for sure. But as I put my experience with them in the context of my life, my beliefs, and what I’ve learned in studying the New Testament this semester, I arrived at a deeper understanding of a certain doctrine Christ teaches in Mark.
In Mark 10, a discussion among the disciples arises about what it means, in the eyes of God, to be considered truly “great”. Christ then teaches them in verse 43-45, “whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For EVEN the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Even I, a person blessed with good health, the ability to get an education, the ability to learn and achieve whatever I want, was not sent here to be ministered unto. I was sent here with a fully capable mind and body so that I could minister to those who are in need. My blessings don’t belong to me, they came from God. My blessings aren’t for me, they’re for those who are lacking.
I also better understand another doctrine Christ taught: “many that are first shall be last; and the last first” (Mark 10:31). Those children at Friday Kids Respite, who may be considered the last in society, they are the ones who will come first. They are the ones who love immediately, who brighten your life despite their suffering, who teach you humility, and are the ultimate examples of faith. They are the ones who are truly great.