Summary: An attempt to speak about serving God in the church in a guilt-free way. Part of my series on the purposes of our church
Mark 10:35-45 – Improving Your Serve
Today we are continuing our journey through the purposes of the church, the 5 God-given directions for what He wants His church to look like. We have seen that this church exists to Glorify God, to praise Him, to lift Him up, to worship Him, to point to Him in all we do. This church also exists to Reach out to others, to share Jesus’ love with those around us, to remember that the church is not a social club that exists just to make its members happy. This church also exists to Aspire to live like Jesus, to love as Jesus loves, to forgive as Jesus forgives, to grow and to change and to conform to be like Jesus. Next week we’ll see, in a creative worship time, that this church exists to Encourage others, to build each other up, to lift up the spirits of others, to help them in their times of need.
As for this week, we’ll see that this church exists to Commit to serve others. Every person alive has gifts, talents and abilities that God can use to make the world a better place, and to help others draw closer to Him. And every believer has been given what we call spiritual gifts, special abilities that the Spirit inside us can use to bring people closer to God. This applies to every person, every scoundrel and every saint, and everyone in between.
But I refuse to guilt anyone today. I refuse to make anyone feel bad about what they have or don’t have, what they do or don’t do. So today, I will share some scripture, tell 2 stories, tie them altogether, and end with asking for a chance to evaluate your heart and your service.
Today’s passage comes from Mark 10:35-45. Let’s take this apart piece by piece.
V35 begins this little tale, about 2 followers of Jesus, 2 brothers, figure they want something. They want a favour from the Lord. Jesus, of course knowing full well, still asks in v36: “What do you want?” And then, here it is… Lord, we want to be rulers. Sure, we’re OK with you being the Big Guy, but Lord, we want to be right up there too. One of us on your left, one of your right. We’ll let you make the decisions, but we’ll be in on it too.
How many of us have asked the same question? Lord, I don’t want to be in charge, but I want to be noticed, to know what’s going on, to be in on Your decisions with You. I don’t want to be the boss, but I want all the stuff that goes along with that.
But Jesus didn’t shrug them off. He explained to them that they had no idea what they were asking. He said that He was about to go through rough times – a bitter cup of sorrow and a baptism of suffering. He said that being in charge is not about getting your own way. He said that being the leader - being a godly one, anyway - is about doing what is good for others.
They said they were able – v39. And Jesus said that they would drink the bitter cup and have the baptism of suffering. But as for thrones in heaven, well, that wasn’t for Him to decide.
Well, the others found out. And they weren’t impressed – v41. What makes you 2 more special than us? Why are you more important? Why do you think you deserve a higher ranking than us?
Then Jesus tells us some very important words, words He demonstrated in His life. V42-45 – “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.”
Jesus says that leadership is about servanthood. He says that if you want to be great, you must first serve. If you want to be a great Christian, you must serve. If this church is to be great, there must be servants among us. Christ set the example for us. He is Lord, Master and Ruler of all, King of Creation, the most VIP in the universe. And He served others. He served bread and wine to His friends. He washed the feet of those who would run away from Him. He gave His life as an act of serving those who cannot help themselves. Jesus showed that being great means being a servant.