“For he who is least among you all – he is the greatest.” Luke 9:48
There are a number of birds saddled with names containing the word, "least." There are Least Bittern, Least Sandpiper, Least Tern, and Least Flycatcher, among others. The names are generally appropriate, for those birds are all the most diminutive of their families. Being the "least," however, does not mean you cannot also be "greatest" at the same time. For instance, the Least Sandpiper, less than five inches long, is the smallest sandpiper, but also the most numerous in the interior of North America. So, while it is least in size, it is greatest in number.
The Bible contains many examples of things being exactly the opposite of what they first appear to be. In today’s Bible passage, Jesus had observed an argument among His disciples. They were arguing about which of them would be the greatest. Jesus brought a little child to stand beside Him, and then said, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all—he is the greatest” (Luke 9:48). In Matthew 19:30, after telling the Parable of the Rich Young Ruler, Jesus told His followers, “Many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.” The Apostle Paul wrote about wisdom versus foolishness, and strength versus weakness: “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27). So, if we cannot always rely upon greatest being better than least; first being better than last; wisdom being better than foolishness; or strength being better than weakness, what can we count on? If we are in Christ Jesus, the Bible says we are not, “foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone" (Ephesians 2:19-20). Jesus is our Cornerstone—our rock…we can rely on Him.