An argument broke out between Jesus’ disciples because of a request made by the mother of James and John. She asks that her sons be able to sit at the right and left hand of Jesus as He is ruling over His kingdom. This is a bold move as it is one of asking for her sons to be granted places of authority in the kingdom of God.
The other disciples were not pleased with her or with James and John. Yet, because of what is in me, I suspect their displeasure was not out of humility, but because this move conflicted with their own proud desires to sit in those places of honor beside Christ. Jesus’ response to them is staggering. Ultimately, He turns this discussion into a lesson on how His followers will become great as they serve others. Jesus Himself says in Matthew 20:28 that He has come not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. The very One that deserved to be served says His priority is to serve.
There are two lessons that followers of Jesus should learn here. First, the obvious lesson is that we are to be looking for ways to serve others. We should be striving to sacrifice and look for ways to place others and their needs before our own needs. That is a very introspective question. Examine your heart, do you think most often about yourself or do you think most of serving others…not for what you will gain from it…but out of a love for Christ and a desire to serve others around you.
The second perspective is a little different. Are you willing to allow others to serve you? Why would I ask this question? It’s because I believe our pride often keeps us from letting other people serve us. When someone else meets a need for us it shows that we are needy. I don’t like for people to think I am needy or have weaknesses. It takes humility and dependence to allow people to serve me. My pride calls me to do things my way and to take care of my own problems. It’s interesting that both wanting other people to serve me and letting people serve me reveals areas of pride in my life.
When we are humble and faithful to God, I believe He will direct our minds to places of serving others. At the same time, when we are humble and faithful to God, I believe He will teach us how to depend on Him as we learn to depend on others and let others serve us. No matter where you are today, are you learning to depend on this wonderful Savior that came to serve? Ask Him to show you areas of pride in your life and then help you put it to death.