You know that person who goes behind your back? Maybe it is to get something they want and you may be in the way. Or it could be a power struggle and they want to win. Maybe it is an idea you shared with them, they liked and now want to take credit for it. Another option is they dislike your idea and want to kill it before it catches on with others. We have all dealt with these types of relationships in one way or another.
There is a situation like this we see Jesus dealing with. We don’t know what caused James and John to go to Jesus and ask to be the top two “lieutenants.” We do know that it happened (Mark 10:35-37) and we know the other ten weren’t pleased with what they did (v41). We sometimes think these twelve who were the closest to Jesus were above this kind of behavior. They were not. And Jesus had to deal with this situation.
We can almost understand why they would have done this. Someone had to be the closest to the leader, why not them? Maybe they thought showing some initiative would separate them from the pack and be just what Jesus was looking for. What it they overheard Thaddeus and Bartholomew talking about this placement and the sons of Zebedee felt they were much more qualified. It could have been they just wanted the power and position. I don’t know why, but I do know they approached Jesus with this proposal.
What seems to be lost on them, and often on us, is Jesus’ response. He doesn’t rebuke the two or the ten; but, he enlightens them as to the way things will be with those in the kingdom. We are not to be like the world, but different. He tells them to worry less about your position and more about serving; going so far as to give himself as an example in a way that had to be puzzling at the moment. Giving one’s own life up in order to serve others.
There are people we love to serve. Maybe they have served us and it is an opportunity to reciprocate. It could be they are just a wonderful person and it is a joy to be able to serve them. Jesus has already stated that we are to be different--to serve, to love to care for those who we would consider our enemies. He conveys this idea while saying serving those who serve us is the pagan way and we are not be like that (Matthew 5;43-48). In other words, serve those who maybe you just don’t really want to serve.
Yeah, that’s hard.
Yes, it is. It calls for thinking differently, looking past what happens in this world, to what happens beyond. Who is it that you have an issue with? Maybe with cause, maybe without. Think about them, then think about the fact that you are loved, maybe not by them, but loved from above. How are you going to serve them this week? A tough task, but one we are called to do.
Praying to serve,