MONDAY, JANUARY 27
“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.’”
Mark 10:42-43 (ESV)
SERVING OTHERS IS COUNTER-CULTURAL
A Department of Water Resources representative stops at a Texas ranch and talks with an old rancher. He tells the rancher, “I need to inspect your ranch for your water allocation.” The old rancher says, “Okay, but don’t go in that field over there.” The Water representative says, “Mister, I have the authority of the Federal Government with me. See this card? This card means I am allowed to go WHEREVER I WISH on any agricultural land. No questions asked or answered. Have I made myself clear? Do you understand?” The old rancher nods politely and goes about his chores.
Later, the old rancher hears loud screams and sees the Water Rep running for his life. And close behind is the rancher’s bull. The bull is gaining with every step. The Rep is clearly terrified, so the old rancher immediately throws down his tools, runs to the fence and yells at the top of his lungs, “Your card! Show him your card!”
In Mark 10, James and John wanted Jesus to give them an authority card. In Mark 10:35 they came to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.” John Stott calls this the most selfish prayer ever prayed. It is the height of arrogance and folly to think I ought to receive whatever I ask from God. We’ve all probably prayed similar prayers. Jesus does grant their request to be great but it doesn’t mean what they think it means.
Jesus teaches them that being great means being a servant. Being a servant goes against our human inclinations. It is counter to our opinion of ourselves. We know who we are, what we have done and what we deserve. Being a servant after the pattern of Jesus is a divine enablement, not a human inclination. In the world the more important you are, the more are the people who serve you. Jesus says, “but it shall not be so among you” (v. 43). In His world the more important you are, the more people you serve.
If your greatness is measured by your service, how great are you in God’s kingdom? What makes being a servant tough for you? The best way to overcome the obstacles to servanthood is through God’s power. Ask Him for the power to serve.