Luke 18:1-6 tells the story of how the disciples asked Jesus ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ What prompted this question? The kingdom of heaven was still, in the disciples’ mind a nebulous concept, there was no set of rules they could follow, there was nothing tangible to get to grips with. I don’t think that the disciples were just wanting to know in absolute terms who was the greatest there and then. I believe that they were (possibly subconsciously) trying to figure out the nature of this kingdom of heaven and how to get on in it. In the same way that the Pharisees had ‘gamed’ the system of Judaism in order to rise to the top (they added their own set of rules to make it simpler for them to win), so the disciples were asking: ‘How do we succeed in this new regime?’
The answer is that you’re asking the wrong question! The answer is that you don’t try to ‘game’ the system in order to get to the top. Child like innocence and humility is required. A deliberately naive failure to see or to seek a pecking order among God’s people is the true nature of the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus’ words on those who cause a child to sin reveal just how wrong he considers this position seeking to be. Anyone who encourages or entices a believer into position seeking is an enemy of the kingdom! In a church full of position seekers and granters we must take these words very seriously.
If we would be authentic members of the kingdom of heaven, then we will choose deliberate humility and Christ like service – this should be our aspiration. If we would be authentic members of the kingdom of heaven we would take seriously Jesus’ comments on position seekers and keep Christ’s Church free from Phariseeism, power broking and position seeking.