Sunday, October 18, 2015

Servant of All

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to Jesus and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." And he said to them, "What is it you want me to do for you?" And they said to him, "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory." But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" They replied, "We are able." Then Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared."
When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, "You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many." Mark 10:35-45

One Christmas I gave each of my daughters t-shirts that said, "Mom loves me best!" Everyone of us want to be most loved, greatest, best athlete etc.  Those who sell us merchandise often promise us beauty, recognition, and winning if we purchase their product. Americans are encouraged to be "winners" and to sidestep losers. And yet inside us all is the awareness of our frail humanity and our incompleteness. We ached to be special and loved, and often feel we have fallen short and are overlooked.

Jesus is approached by two of his disciples, James and John, who want to be first, best, the ones who receive the rewards and honor. When the others hear of this they are furious, angry with the obnoxious behavior. Privately, they probably all wished they had asked for favors. Jesus puts the fire of anger and jealousy out by suggesting that in God's kingdom is built on service. The Creator's community is built on caring for others, on living humbly with all. We are invited to consider that if we want honor, we might consider getting out of the way, making room for others, making the needs of others a priority.

Today I ask God to help me be a servant every hour of every day. May we all honor God by living a life of service,  building the Creator's community on our knees. May we be known by our humility and may God's love shine through us today.

Almighty and everlasting God, in Christ you have revealed your glory among the nations: Preserve the works of your mercy, that your Church throughout the world may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

No comments: