Growth Through Service
As we turn our attention to a new year and perhaps set goals for ourselves, what would it look like if the goals we set were internal rather than external?
Every time I read the account in Mark 10:35-45 I find myself having the same reaction. I’m horrified. How on earth could James and John come to Jesus and have the audacity to ask for something like a preferred seat in heaven? How could they be so self-absorbed that they found it okay to ask? Let alone the fact they are going behind the other disciples’ backs and playing a game of favorites? How could they be so hungry for status or importance or security that they’d miss the point of what Jesus has been teaching them day after day? But then I realize I often do the same thing.
Self-determination, drive, a desire to grow and do more. These things aren’t evil. They are what get us out of bed in the morning, help us tackle big tasks, make us productive. But to what end?
As we turn our attention to a new year and perhaps set goals for ourselves, what would it look like if the goals we set were internal rather than external? What if our goals were the ways we were going to submit our lives to Jesus more? What if they were about changing our internal character rather than our external appearance? What if 2019 was the year we decided to become a more deeply devoted follower of Jesus rather than a leader of people? The way of Jesus is indeed upside down to our sensibility. It’s a path of descent. We become less, Jesus becomes more. We find our identity in him rather than in our accomplishments.
I think James and John were on the right track, they just asked the question from the wrong perspective. In this next year, instead of going to Jesus and saying “We want you to do for us whatever we ask” (Mark 10:35), perhaps we’d be better served to say to Jesus “We want to do for you whatever you ask”. Here’s to a new year whereas people, as the church, we take the posture of a servant. We leave Jesus at the top of the ladder and we simply give. We focus on maturing as believers. We grow in our discipline as we learn better how to pray, read scripture, reflect on what God is saying and put our faith into action. And one more thing, we do this as a community. Join a group, jump into a study, serve in a ministry.
So here’s the million dollar question, will you do it? If you will, let’s talk. Maybe not you and me but talk to somebody. We have a great team of folks who every week are helping people find their place in our church. Jesus came and modeled self-sacrifice so that we could be part of the kingdom, it’s time to take him up on that offer.