Day 18: Doer who's humble

Paper Tigers & Impressing God

A Write 31 Days Series

And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, ‘Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.’ And he said to them, ‘What do 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.’ Jesus said to them, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?’ And they said to him, ‘We are able.’ And 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.‘  And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John.  And Jesus called them to him and said to them, ‘You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’
— Mark 10:35-45 ESV

Jesus asked this, “What do you want me to do for you?”

What if Jesus came to you and asked you this question?  What would be your answer?  Is there a need you are desperate to have filled today?  Would you plead someone’s case, asking God to move in their life?  Would you ask about an unfulfilled dream that you would hope Jesus could bring to fruition

I’m seven sentences into this blog post, and all of them have been questions.  I don’t know what I would ask Jesus to do for me.

I judgmentally look at James and John’s answer.  Surely I wouldn’t ask Jesus to place me at His level, make me His top dog.  Or would I?  (BTW, sorry for calling you Shirley!)

As I think back about my “striving hard to impress God” times in ministry, wasn’t this kind of what I wanted?  I wanted to be noticed, promoted, trusted with more, and praised.

James and John were asking to be second and third in command, placed in a seat of honor, and maybe even seen as holy.

When I strive to look “good” to people, isn’t being seen as holy my goal?

I don’t know about you, but I feel such conviction reading this passage.

Jesus told them, “But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.”

That answer must have felt so backward or inverted from what they were expected from Jesus.  Jesus isn’t giving them what they asked.

What I want in my deepest heart of hearts would not be to be a servant.  I can understand their confusion.

Jesus then left that conversation to go die on the cross, paying the ransom of so many in bondage to sin.

Yesterday we discussed freedom.  We considered being a DOER who is free by being someone who DOES out of love.

Serving out of love is the key to freedom and also the key to being more like Jesus, who tells us that He came to serve - not to be served.

When we come to Jesus concerned with our self-interest and self-promotion instead of coming to Jesus concerned about His Kingdom and His will, we are very likely to go away as disappointed as James and John were.  What matters most is His will, the advancement of His Gospel, and His story here on Earth.

A better stance would be to approach Jesus with the humility of a servant as we do, we find our assignment to serve others in our lives from a place of love.

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
— 1 John 5:13-15 ESV


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I like to include a song with each blog post.  Here you go.  I love the guitar part at the end and the lyric, "I want to knit you a sweater, I want to write you a love letter, I want to make you feel better, I want to make you feel free."  Joni is a treasure.