Every time I hear the part of this story from Mark, where James and John ask Jesus to grant them a seat at his side, my initial thought is, “Who has the nerve to demand that Jesus save them a seat?” Is it the self-centered, ego-driven type that needs to be seen with the best? Is it the one who wants to be the teacher’s pet and hopes for a little extra love and attention? Maybe it’s the one who is weary and knows that Jesus can provide a safe haven? Or, is it the one who just doesn’t want to miss out on what Jesus will do next?
Jesus answers James and John’s request by saying, “Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.” In essence, those who want to sit by Jesus’ side must be prepared to serve. Whether that means serving the people who are in your house, or serving people who don’t look like you and you’ve never met, it is clear that Jesus commands us to serve others.
Let’s be honest, it can be draining serving others. My tank can be empty by 7am just getting one teenager out the door. But God wants us to do it anyway. He wants us to find our niche of people and pour into them. We can ask God to give us what is needed to serve them in a loving way. And when we are weak or struggling, having a few trusted friends ready to pray for us is one of the best gifts that God gives. Then we can be filled with God, acting as Jesus wants us to, loving and putting others first.
You have given each one of us different abilities and desires. Help us to use those gifts to find the people that you want us to serve. Give us the strength to honor you in our actions. Pour your love into us so that we may give it away. Let our thoughts, words and actions be a reflection of Jesus’ sacrifice and love.
In Your mighty and precious Son’s name, Amen
Written by Julie Anderson
“When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Julie Anderson is a member of Sheridan’s Devotion Writing Team. She works part-time as Sheridan’s Children’s Music Coordinator where she is passionate about teaching children to use their musical gifts to praise God. Julie is married to Scott and counts her greatest honor as being mom to Adrienne, Eliot and Elise.