In the Book of Mark, Chapter 10, and Verses 35-45, we read about two of Jesus’ Disciples who had a very specific request. James and John believed that they were deserving of special recognition in the Kingdom of God, so they went to speak to Jesus privately. “Teacher,” they said, “we want to ask You to do something for us.”
“What do you want?” Jesus asked.
They answered, “Let us share the great honor You will have as king. Let one of us sit at Your right side and the other at Your left side.”
“You don’t understand what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Are you willing to suffer as I am going to suffer?”
“Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able.”
“You may be able to suffer as I will suffer. But I have no right to say who will sit on My right or My left. God has prepared those places for the ones He has chosen.”
No doubt James and John were disappointed by Jesus’ answer, and when the other ten disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were angry with them. After all, they were as deserving of this honor as James and John. Jesus heard their fussing and called all of them together. “You’ve seen how rulers in this world throw their weight around,” He said, “and when someone gets a little power it quickly goes to their head. But it should not be that way with you. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be the servant of all.”
Well, that wasn’t what they expected or wanted to hear. You see, the Kingdom of God isn’t about recognition, praise, or a seat of honor. It is about service to others. Look at the life that Jesus lived. He came not to be served, but to serve and help others. Then He gave His life so that we could have eternal life. So sometimes being in first place isn’t the best place. I want my place to be with Jesus always. How about you?
Let’s pray. Father God, help us to be more like Jesus and live our lives in service to others. Then we can get the real prize of living with Him in heaven forever. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Ann Moody is pastor of Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church and the Middleport First Presbyterian Church.