40 WAYS IN 40 DAYS LENT 2015
#31 Handle Power
35James 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.” 36And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” 37And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” 38But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” 39They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; 40but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
41When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. 42So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 43But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, 44and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. 45For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Be honest, how many of us would like to hang out with successful or well-known people. People feted and sought after by others. I’m not sure how famous Bishop Gene Robinson is (he’s the first ordained openly gay bishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion), but I do remember how some, from those involved with his visit, were keen to keep his company as much as possible. And yes I was possibly a bit jealous.
Conversely are we so keen to hang out with those who form the almost invisible deprived groups in our society: the homeless; the hungry; the sick and the suffering. Jesus is particularly portrayed in Mark as the servant/slave of others. Mark provides more detail than the other Gospels on Jesus’ acts of diligent and faithful service to others for God and, to the shock of his disciples, he calls them to do the same!
Of course, other than Jesus himself, we have great saints to show us the way. Mother Theresa, who established a community of nuns to work in the slums of Calcutta, has been a great inspiration to many. She also insisted that she received as much as she gave. While working with people, who knew real material poverty, she also found great richness and beauty. To her western supporters she once said:
‘We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.’
‘Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty’.
To serve others, who are in more difficult circumstances than ourselves, can be tough and difficult. It can take us away from our comfort zone into unknown territory and expose us to others with different values and interests. It can also be a wonderful opportunity to widen our world and to rediscover what is truly important.
So are we willing to take the risk?
– Tim H, Moreland Baptist