When Mike Peters won the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for political cartoons, he wasn’t expecting the honor. He described his response by saying, “It is like you are asleep and it is 2 in the morning and you are hugging your pillow and you are in your funny pajamas and somebody bursts through the door and they come over and start shaking you and they say, ‘Wake up, wake up!’ And you say, ‘What is it?’ And they say, ‘You have just won the Boston Marathon!’ And you say, ‘But I’m not running in the Boston Marathon.’ And they say, ‘Doesn’t make any difference, you won.'”

We can find at least one element that is common to both Mike Peters’ analogy and the account in Mark 9. Jesus taught that heaven too will hold some surprises. Honor and glory will be granted for behavior that was so natural, so undistinguished, and so noncompetitive.

Take, for instance, the simple illustration of receiving a child in Jesus’ name. He was talking about having a humble servant attitude, being willing to reach out and help the lowliest of people so that we might show them the love of Christ. Such simple acts will be greatly rewarded.

Yes, many of God’s children will be surprised to find that their faithful service has brought them top honors.