Where we find ourselves, the United Methodist Church Part 3: A servant to all...
We all draw lines and pick sides in debates, not only in church matters but also political matters. Jesus has a particular way, a posture in which he wants us to stand as we draw lines. When we break with that posture, we in essence move into sin (not being aligned with God). Listen to one of the primary postures Jesus calls his followers to.
35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
39 “We can,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”
41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 42 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. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 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.”
The New International Version (Mk 10:35–45). (2011). Zondervan.
So let’s be clear. Jesus is on the eve of entering into Jerusalem, and the disciples think - as they seem to always trend towards, he will be setting up his place of power.
Two of them - James and John come to him and say, “Can you do something for us?” Jesus listens. “Can we sit at your right and left hand when you come into glory?”
Jesus says, can you drink the cup that will drink - meaning suffering and death. They say we can.
Jesus says, “but to sit and my right or left, well, that is not for me to choose”
And then Jesus gives them, the “this is how you are to live here and now while you are in this world” speech.
Those of the world - lord over others and use power and authority to get what they want and what they deem as good.
But you, if you want to be great - become a servant, become a slave. Because even Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve.
Jesus was not worried about getting served while pursuing God’s mission. Jesus was not worried about being taken advantage of or suffering or even death as he committed his way to God. Again, whatever it took for him to do His Father’s will in this world, He was in. That was his ultimate purpose. Jesus signed up for that and was all in.
And Jesus is saying the same to his followers. Again, wrong posture, leads to wrong living no matter how well intentioned. It is easy to step out of being a servant of all and moving into a place of power and control. That is our natural human condition.
I find when I argue with folks, my own need to be right gets in way of being a servant to others. Is is possible to be a servant of others and be uncompromising in your values? Yes, that was who Jesus was.
I am alway curious about how we do both of these things at one time, like Jesus did. I mean truly how do we be loving and serving to all - not some, not most, not those like me, not those I like - but to all? And at the same time be firmly rooted in truth and God’s will in this world? You don’t have to sacrifice one for the sake of the other. Jesus did not compromise either and asks us to follow him. Again, look to Jesus - how was he both -grace and truth - to those that sat and ate with Him?
As you navigate decisions about your affiliation, choose to work with those folks that serve others not taht looking to be served, or to remain powerful or even get more authority.
Surrender is the way of the cross.
Surrender is the way of Jesus.
Surrender is the path to be a servant of and to all.