October 16

Mark 10:35-45

“James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, ‘Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.’” vs. 35

According to Mark, the disciples were obsessed with greatness and glory. They’d been nothing when Jesus called them, but after a few months on the road they began vying for corner offices in the executive suite. At first this was an internal competition, something discussed privately, but before long James and John were bold enough to approach Jesus directly–they wanted him to do for them whatever they asked. They were looking for places of authority and power in the coming kingdom. A lot of us can identify. One of the ways we measure success is by noting how many people we have power over. Often we hear parents brag about their children by noting how many are under them in their job or profession. By the world’s standards the more people “under us” the better we’re doing. It happens everywhere–it’s why pastors want to be “lead” rather than “associate.” That’s why titles are important in the workplace–we want designations that reflect the perceived power of our position. And being a follower of Jesus doesn’t remove that lust from our hearts. No matter how faithful we are, we will most often have a concern for status and how we measure up with regard to others. We should note that this desire didn’t work out well for James and John, and in the peaceable kingdom it has no place at all.

Thought for the Day: What worldly aspirations have I had?

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