In a world that is constantly yelling at us that success and greatness come from working your way to the top of the heap, we shouldn't be too surprised at the request made in our Gospel reading this week, by James and John , of Jesus.
“Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory." (Mark 10:35-37)
Perhaps one of the reasons we shouldn't be so easily shocked is because all too often we are guilty of praying the same way. Instead of "Thy will be done", we pray, "Lord this is how you are going to make it work." No wonder it seems like Jesus doesn't always answer our prayers! Effective prayer comes, not by imposing our will on God, but by seeking His way of doing things.
As Jesus so often does he turns their request for greatness on it's head. "You don't know what true greatness looks like", he tells them. "True greatness looks like this;
"whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all." ( Mark 10:43-44)
True greatness comes only when we are willing to serve others in the same way that Jesus did and Jesus’ way is the way of the cross! “Are you willing to go that far?” he asks James and John.
“Take up your cross and follow me”, is what he asks of us too.
Well! What about it then? Are you willing???
Till next time.... Andrew
Rev. Andrew Smith
Vicar of Light in the Hills