Can you imagine being one of the twelve Jesus chose to be His first disciples? Prior to the resurrection none of them fully understood what was coming and what to expect. I’m sure some of them felt like the rest of the Jews, believing the Messiah would establish some form of physical Kingdom on the earth.
You learn that two of your friends in the group have (with the help of their mother of all people) petitioned Jesus to allow them to sit at His right and His left when He establishes His Kingdom. Like many of us today they were vying for power, authority, control, prestige, titles or to rule.
In my time alone with God this morning, I read Matthew 20:20-28 which includes this story and Jesus’ response. The most significant things I took away from it were that God determines our position in His Kingdom, and the best place to be to discover what He wants is to follow Christ’s example.
Jesus said: “Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.” Jesus said you must be like me: I did not come to be served, but to serve and give my life as a ransom for many.
He didn’t rebuke a desire for greatness, but redefined it: greatness is serving others just like I do. Or as Paul wrote in Philippians 2:5: “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”
I wish I could say I’ve arrived, but I haven’t. Too often I consider my own interests instead of in humility looking for ways to leverage my position to serve and help others. I hope you do aspire to greatness in whatever you do, but in that journey and/or when you arrive, I hope you’ll leverage your influence to serve others as Christ did.
For all of us who follow Christ it’s a choice and an important part of our spiritual growth. I hope we’re all making progress. Having the same attitude as Christ should be our desire and we should strive to be intentional in applying that mindset with our choices daily. In all of our relationships let’s choose to treat people as Christ did and ask (as Andy Stanley has said): “What does love require of me?”