Summary: William Gladstone said, "Selfishness is the greatest curse of the human race." Think about it; if everyone just looked out for #1 then no one would be satisfied; including #1. I can gain a lot by being selfish...except what's truly important.
GOD IS UNSELFISH
William Gladstone said, "Selfishness is the greatest curse of the human race." If you think about that there's much truth in it. If everyone just looked out for #1 then no one would be satisfied; including #1. There's a lot to be gained by being selfish except what matters most.
Jesus didn't come to be served but to serve.
Matt. 20:17-28, "Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!” Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, 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 by my Father.” When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the 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 your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Think about this scenario for a moment. Jesus just gets done telling the disciples this distressing news and then we have James and John's mom coming with this request (Mark's version has James and John making the request. It was probably all three.) It's as if they were saying, "Yeah, yeah, yeah; betrayed, condemned, mocked, beaten, nailed to a cross; we get it. But what about us? When you raise from the dead and establish your kingdom can we have the most prominent positions?"
Jesus just got done explaining the most selfless thing he would ever do and these guys immediately come back with the most selfish request. Jesus is like, "Did you just hear what I said was going to happen to me? Besides, you don't know what you're asking. All you're focused on is the glory and glamour; you're not thinking about what will happen on the way there."
It's the same way when we have selfish ambitions-we don't think of what will happen on the way to getting what we want-such is our tunnel vision. We're not thinking of what it might cost to get what we want. We're not thinking of the suffering others will endure. All we're thinking about is how wonderful it will be when we get what we're after.
'The rest of the disciples were indignant'. It's completely understood why they would be although I have to wonder: was it because they beat you to it? They had argued before about which one of them was the greatest so it would make sense that they were indignant the question is why exactly?
At the heart of all this selfishness was pride. Jesus needed to teach them that this prideful, self-centered, jockeying for position stuff was undignified and unspiritual. Jesus was saying, 'Those who don't know me go around lording themselves over others but that's not how you should be. Look at me. I'm the king of the universe but you don't see me treating you like slaves and putting strenuous demands on you. On the contrary, I'm the one serving you!"
Later, when he was washing their feet he said (paraphrasing), "You call me teacher and Lord and rightly so for that is what I am. But look what I've done-I've washed your feet-the job of a lowly servant. If I, your Lord, can do that for you, shouldn't you be willing to do that for one another? You'll be blessed if you do." Chuck Swindoll said, "What does the Lord do to assist me in seeing how selfish I am? He gives me four busy kids who step on shoes, wrinkle clothes, spill milk, lick car windows and drop sticky candy on the carpet. Being unselfish in attitude strikes at the very core of our being. It means we are willing to forgo our own comfort, our own preferences, our own schedule, our own desires for another's benefit. And that brings us back to Christ." It's a blessing to be unselfish.