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…Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” Mark 10:35,37
We can get a picture stuck in our head, often contrary to facts all around us and even messages from God, about what something will look like. We have expectations for how things should be; what we should be.
James and John are looking around at the others in their small circle, and they want to make sure they have places of honor. The other ten disciples get wind of it, and they are indignant. Competition and comparison kick in, everyone clawing and climbing over each other to try to reach the top. These are people they have walked with, eaten with, worked with, learned with, even healed with… and still, ambition, self-promotion, and competition replace love, humility, the elevation of others.
Jesus, in essence, says, “You want greatness? Serve. Give of yourself. Uplift others.” Self-denial over self-promotion. Sacrifice over self-glory.
Why, when we know what produces pure joy, peace, and contentment, do we continue to look around, compare and compete? It does nothing to draw people to God or glorify Him. Instead, it makes us anxious, unproductive, ineffective, and miserable. It’s the devil’s most potent weapon… “If I could just get their eyes off of Jesus and on themselves and how they stack up against those around them, I could make some headway,” he contrives. We can’t let the devil have this space. We can’t let him dictate where our eyes are focused. We can’t believe his lie that it is all about us and we need to preserve and protect that at all costs.
The anecdote? Seeking God’s glory always over our own. Serving others. Lifting others up. Denying ourselves for the benefit of others. Giving generously. Focusing our eyes above. Embracing our unique calling and running toward it with passion.
Challenge: How can you be great in the kingdom today by serving?