Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:43–45

Dear Jesus, surely the gospel is the most counterintuitive, paradigm-shattering, worldview-transforming force in history. Because of you, true greatness is now measured in terms of being a servant rather than owning the estate. Being first is no longer calculated by how many slaves we own but rather by how many people we serve.

Jesus, tattoo these words on our hearts with indelible ink; make them the most replayed song in the iPod of our soul; keep them before our eyes with neon-flashing brilliance: “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” This one statement—this single affirmation contradicts our most basic instincts about everything, including salvation.

We don’t want to be ransomed, as guilty rebels; we want to be coddled, as misunderstood victims. We want a second chance, not a second birth. We don’t want a towel for washing feet, we want a scepter for ruling our world. Forgive us, Jesus. Free us. Change us.

What a most gracious Savior you are; gladly giving your life to redeem and cherish a pan-national Bride. What an incredibly powerful Lord you are; defeating the powers of darkness and actively making all things new. What a faithfully caring Shepherd you are; protecting, feeding and guiding us Home safely.

We bow before you in wonder, love, and praise. We rise to dance before you as a people astonished at such compassion and affection. We humble ourselves before you and purpose to follow you in the servant way.

In our marriages, too often we don’t come to serve but to be served and to give our criticisms about many things. As parents, we often look to our children to make us proud, rather than loving them well. As leaders in your church, we tend to think of greatness as exercising power and authority, rather than praying for and nurturing your lambs. Forgive us, Jesus. Free us, Change us.

Continue to liberate us from self-centered upward mobility for downward covenant faithfulness. Help us to treasure what you treasure and let go of our fool’s gold—only you have the right to determine the value and price tags for everything. Make us a people who actually prefer the hidden place of sacrificial service over the public place of being celebrated.

By the grace and power of the gospel, transform us, Jesus. We tremble to ask this, but we do; expose our pride, gentle our attitudes and soften our hearts. Make us glad to be your servants. So very Amen we pray, in your tender and majestic name.