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 among 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, verses 42-45.
The disciples are pissed off, so Jesus throws down and reminds them of why He came and how they should now act because of Him. As you noodle that thought, don’t lose sight of the immensely profound thing that Jesus just said and did.
Along that thought path, let’s talk work. My project is exactly one week out from go-live. If you don’t work in business IT projects, that means the new codes and changes we have worked four years to implement go into live business production one week from today. Tensions at the client are enormously high, and my team is struggling hard to get through last minute issues, side-bar white noise, and the sniping that comes with being this close to implementing large-scale changes. Yesterday, most of us on the team put in a 17 hour work day.
Know what? Jesus could be speaking to my team instead of the Twelve Apostles. He could be reminding those of us in Minnesota to remember that, in all ways and at all times and especially in times of stress and duress, to serve is to serve Him. Every thought in our heads and every action of every minute should be spent serving others in ways large and small.
Tell me: how’s that working out for you? Does it go against your grain to have someone remind you that you should have the heart of a servant when, sometimes, you want the heart of Conan the Barbarian? Even if the someone telling you is Jesus, God Immanuel, King of Kings and Lord of Lords?
You know the answer. We’re fatally, brutally flawed and sinful creatures. Left to our own devices, we would make constant war on each other. Thank God that He is playing a long-ball game called “life” and that He is endlessly merciful to creatures who don’t deserve it.
If you want to get past moments of stress, remember to serve. If you want to have your demands heard and addressed, remember first to serve. If you want to be served, serve others first. If we truly want to change the world, let’s do it first by doing it for others just like Jesus. In doing so, we’ll find it’s deeply profound and worthwhile.
Jesus confronts the conventional and reminds us that He didn’t create us for conventionality. He lived and created us to be unconventional, to address hate with love, to address demands with confidence, to address stress with calmness. Jesus isn’t giving the Apostles (or us) some cheesy pep talk. Instead, He is empowering humanity with the tools to address mankind’s deepest need for fulfillment and satisfaction. In doing so, He reminds us that love is more powerful than anything else, and that if we use that love as a willing servant does, then we can overcome anything. Even a software go-live.
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your servant example and for Your patient mercy. Teach me yet again to serve You by serving others in wherever I find myself this day.
Read Mark 10, verses 46-52.