Monday, July 24, 2017

Given Up to Death for the Sake of Jesus by Melanie Rigney (@melanierigney)

Paolo Veronese [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

For we who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. (2 Corinthians 4:11)

Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing. (Psalm 126:5)

“Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26-28)

Lord, help me to put to death the ways in which I jockey for position, eager to win the praise and admiration of others. Your Love is enough.

Oh, that wife of Zebedee, the mother of James and John. How she advocated for her sons. How sure she was that they were entitled to sit at Jesus’s right and left hands in His kingdom, whatever that kingdom might look like. Because you see, they were her sons. They deserved nothing but the best that Jesus had to offer, something a little better than what the others were going to get.

One wonders about the unrecorded reactions of James and John. Were they amused by Mom’s politicking? Did it please them? Did they count on her to say what they felt they could not? At some level, one has to think they were embarrassed by her campaigning on their behalf.

Jesus draws the group up short by explaining what being great means. It is the antithesis of what James’ and John’s mother has in mind. Rather than being acclaimed and admired, greatness in the Kingdom means service. It means putting oneself last, not first. It means self-sacrifice and emptying ourselves of ego and pride. It means putting the get-ahead, competitive parts to death—so that we may help others live. True greatness, Jesus tells us, isn’t about sitting at the right and left hand. It’s about using our own hands to help others find their way to Him.

Wherever possible today, put the interests of someone else ahead of your own—at home and at work. Be a servant leader.

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