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Summary: Power, position and prestige - where do they belong in a Christian’s vocabulary?

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Briningham 19-10-03

Mk 10:35-45 - Christian leadership

Power, Prestige and Position, where do they belong in a Christian’s vocabulary?

Today’s Gospel reading is all about these topic. James and John were trying to use their influence to get into the top positions in God’s kingdom and Jesus would have none of it. And the reaction of the other disciples wasn’t exactly laudatory either.

What I like about the Bible is that it is so real. The leaders of the Early Church are shown in all their humanity - warts and all.

And in our Gospel reading we see them- once again GETTING it wrong. And yet it was on the back of these disciples, that Jesus chose to build his church.

That gives me heart. Because –even though I get it wrong – God doesn’t give up on me.

Story: Imagine if Jesus had sent the resume of the 12 apostles off to a management consultancy team, like McKinsey for evaluation, I wonder what might have come back.

Perhaps a letter like this:

Dear Sir:

Thank you for submitting the resumes of the 11 of the 12 men you have picked for managerial positions in your new organization. Please note you forgot to send the resume of Simon the Cananean.

We have evaluated them against the norms required for “Senior British Managers”and find that most of your nominees are lacking in

background, educational and

vocational aptitude

for the type of enterprise you are undertaking.

They do not seem to have any concept of team and so we would suggest that you continue your search for persons with experience and proven capability. To the specifics:

Simon barJonah (who you also refer to as Peter) is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper. He is not the sort of person you can rely on in a crisis to keep his cool.

His brother Andrew, (as indeed Philip too) seem to be followers and seem to have no leadership skills at all.

James and John barZebedee place personal interest above company loyalty. Further they seem to have a tempemental flaw – I believe you described them as the “Sons of Thunder”. This puts a serious question mark about how they will react under pressure.

Thomas demonstrates a rather unhealthy questioning attitude that will tend to undermine morale.

We feel that it is our duty to inform you that

Matthew has been blacklisted by the Jerusalem Chamber of Commerce.

James, barAlphaeus and Simon the Zealot (also known as Thaddeus) have radical leanings and the latter is closely associated with a terrorist movement.

We wonder how much Nathanial heart is in the Enterprise. Like Thomas he has an unhealthy questioning attitude.

There is only candidate who shows great potential. He is a man of ability and resourcefulness who interacts well with people well and has a keen business mind. He has contacts in high places and is highly motivated, ambitious and responsible.

We recommend that you take Judas Iscariot on as your right-hand man.

Yours sincerely

J. Barabbas

But actually this is the very reverse of what God CHOSE.

God’s ways are not man’s ways.

Conventional wisdom says that you should strive for position, prestige and power.


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