Willingness to give extra service

When William Booth signed the guest book for King Edward the 7th he summed up his life’s work. “Your Majesty” he wrote “Some men’s ambition is art. Some men’s ambition is fame. Some men’s ambition is gold. My ambition is the souls of men. … More

Ambition

Jesus again tells about His death (vv. 32-34). As Jesus and His disciples head for Jerusalem we see Jesus out in front of the group alone. There are certain things in life that a man must face alone and the betrayal, scourging, crucifixion and resurrection was one of those times for our Lord.

 
The disciples did not know what was going on and were completely confused and yet they followed (vv. 35-39). They just loved the Lord so much that they were compelled to accept what they could not understand. However, in the midst of all this we find a heartbreaking display of selfish ambition by James and John as they requested to sit on either side of Him in His Kingdom. Jesus explained that this was not for Him to give, but would be given to  those “for whom it was prepared” (v.40). It is interesting to note how Matthew tells this story (Matt 20:20–23), and in his version the request  is made not by James and John, but by their mother Salome. It seems that Matthew may have been trying to save the reputation of James and John, and attributed it to the natural ambition of their mother.

The basic trouble in the human situation is that men wish to do as little as possible and to get as much as possible. It is only when they are filled with the desire to put into life more than they take out, that life for themselves and for others will be happy and prosperous. Although the ordinary clerk may go home at 5.30 p.m., the light will be seen burning in the office of the chief executive long into the night. It is his willingness to give the extra service that makes him head of the firm.

History teaches that important places of honor usually go to those who prepare themselves for such places rather than to those who seek them selfishly. Jesus explained to them that if they wanted to be great they must first of all be a servant (vv. 41-45). The world needs people whose ideal is service. We need to realize that true greatness is characterized by humility and service.

 

Application

How does Jesus’ view of leadership compare with the world’s view? Do I ever find myself desiring special treatment by others? What is one way I could be a servant this week? Need relationship verses recognition.

Mark 10:32-45 (English Standard Version)

And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, "See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise." 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." And he said to them, "What do you want me to do for you?" And they said to him, "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory." Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" And they said to him, "We are able." And Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared." And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. 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. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

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