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Saturday, May 22, 2010

What's in It for Me?

Two brothers, cheered on by their mother, asked Jesus for prominent positions in His kingdom. James and John had their hearts set on the messianic kingdom. However, Jesus was focused on the cross. The brothers wanted to reign, but Jesus planned to redeem. They wanted to be served, but He wanted to serve. When they made the request, they hoped Jesus would give them what would make them happy, famous, and powerful, but Jesus wanted them to follow Him in humble ministry on behalf of others. You can read about this incident in Mark 10:35-45.

Many things have changed since James and John asked for prominent positions in the kingdom, but the human heart hasn’t changed. Unless individuals submit to Jesus’ lordship, they will try to exchange roles with Him, wanting Him to grant whatever they wish: happiness or fame or wealth or . . . . What’s in it for me? Self-centered individuals ask, while consumer-focused churches offer a menu list of options.

Jesus’ response to James and John seems out of tune with modern Christian thought and practice, but it is as relevant now as ever. He said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all” (Mark 10:43-44).