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Time For Service

Jesus called them together and said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great mong you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. -Mark 10:42-45

So the theme for this Sunday in the fullness of time is the theme of service. Now, this week I happened to go past the Wendy's out on Liberty Mills and West Jefferson, and on the back side of the building by the entrance going in, there's one of their banner billboard things that they have on the side of the building, and it has a quote from George Bush, that says, From now on, any definition of a successful life must include serving others. There's no context, it doesn't even specify which George Bush it was that said that, but... Any definition of a successful life must include serving others. Well, at the bottom of it, then it says, come serve with us and join our team, so they're trying to hire... They're trying to recruit people, and it's not an unworthy way of serving...

I appreciate those folks that serve burgers and fries and chili, but even in Bush's definition of a successful life means one that includes serving others, he's not presenting a very new idea. In fact, Jesus tells us that the life that we are called to live is one that's about service. And the reason that we know that it's a life that's about services, that he sets that example for us, that as Christians, as followers of the one who called us to be His disciples... Well, we’re to be a little Christ, a little Jesus in this world. And so if Jesus says, I came not to be served but to serve. Then we should do likewise.

Now, our text for this morning comes on the heel of some of the disciples having a conversation. If we look a little bit earlier in Verses 35 and 37 of Chapter 10, James and John come to Jesus and say, Jesus, we want you to do for us whatever we ask. And I can't imagine what kind of look Jesus must have given them when they make a statement like that, do for us whatever we ask. Jesus says, What exactly is that you want? And they said, When you enter into your kingdom, we wanna sit at your left in your right hand, and Jesus tells them, Well, that's not my place to decide that... But he also says to them, Can you drink of the cup that I'm going to drink? And can you be baptized with the baptism I'll be baptized? Now, for James and John, they say, Yes, we are able. And Jesus doesn't dispute their insistence on the fact that they can indeed drink this cup and be baptized with His baptism, but the problem still was their motivation, it was what was driving them to make this request, because they saw drinking of this cup that Jesus was going to drink and being baptized with His baptism, they saw this as a way for them to...

Well, to receive some personal glory and honor, the other disciples are indignant when they hear this, so Jesus calls all the disciples together and says, Alright guys, here's the thing, I don't run things like the Gentiles too. I don't run things like the rulers of this world, do they lord it over people. Well, hey, if you do this for me, I'll give you this special honor, I'll give you this special place if you go above and beyond, so it's a tit for tat, you scratch my back, I'll take care of you. And Jesus says, Let's not have this kingdom that I'm talking about works, it's not about you having that position in that power and that authority, lord it over you, so you can in turn, lord it over others. He says, I didn't come to be served. They used that title, Lord, which is a title of honor, recognizing someone in a position of power and authority when they refer to Jesus, and we use that in our prayers, Lord. And yet Jesus says, No, I'm here as a servant, I'm not here to be served. It's not about me being puffed up and lifted up, but rather it's about me serving, and he turned the tables on the expectations that they have... The things in God's kingdom aren't going to work like what we see in the world around us. This week in Bible study, one of the questions we had was, how many times have we ever felt tempted to want to play first chair in God's orchestra? It's a place of honor.

We wanna be asked to do the big flashy stuff that's gonna garner attention and people... applauding saying, Good job. That was such a great program where you put together such a fine meal or whatever active service it was, sometimes our egos get in the way and sometimes people want to have that attention, and yet Jesus is saying No, no.