Summary: Sermon for the 21st Sunday after Pentecost, Year B, 2012
Mark 10: 335 – 45 / Not To Be Served
Intro: When my children were in high school I wanted them to be the very best. I wanted them to be on the honor roll. What I really wanted as a bumper sticker the school gave to students on the honor roll that said, “My child is an honor student at Cypress Falls High School.” I told my youngest son that I really would like for him to succeed in school so I could have one of those bumper stickers. At the end of the next six week period my son came home and proudly presented me with the bumper sticker. I told him I was very proud of the fact that he had worked hard to make the honor roll. He then confessed that he had purchased the bumper sticker from a friend for $5. I got what I wanted; but, not exactly the way I wanted it.
I. VS. 35 – “Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
A. Do whatever we ask of you . . . What do you want Jesus to do for you? What’s in it for me?
B. People and churches want God on their terms and in their time. Long ago, God and the church were at the center of the community. It seems now that God and the church have been relegated to the sidelines of life.
C. “I want it all. I want it now.” Society in general is driven to do whatever it takes to be number one. VS. 37 – “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
II. VS. 38 – “You don’t know what you are asking.” Jesus said. Be careful what you ask for because you just might get it.
A. Perhaps the predictions of his death had become clear to James and John and they were afraid and seeking the promise of a secure future for themselves. Fear can be a tremendous factor in seeking security for ourselves and others.
B. I’ve heard the following said by church members: “If we don’t do something to attract young families with children, our church is going to die.” The fear over the future of many mainline churches has lead to all sorts of gimmicks and programs. I know of one church that has even installed in their foyer a children’s playground like you see at some McDonalds Restaurants.
C. I believe the decision we face as contemporary Presbyterians in Georgetown, KY is this: Is our mission to survive or to serve?
III. READ Mark 10: 42 – 45 “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.”
A. Becoming a servant for others. Serving means more than warming a pew on Sunday morning. Serving means more than coming to church functions.
B. John Brodie, the former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers was being used by his team to hold the ball for the kicker. A sports reporter asked him why a million-dollar player like him should have to hold the ball for field goals and extra points after the touchdown. “Well,” said Brodie, “If I didn’t, it would fall over.” - That’s the type of person Jesus seeks.
C. Serving doesn’t always mean selling everything you own and going off to a foreign country. Serving can mean cleaning the building so people who come through these doors notice how well you take care of God’s things. Serving can mean taking the time to get to know people’s names, to introduce yourself to visitors and perhaps invite them out to eat with you.
Conclu: In searching for a suitable conclusion to this message, I discovered the following: “I will do more than belong, I will participate. I will do more than care, I will help. I will do more than believe, I will be kind. I will do more than dream, I will work. I will do more than teach, I will inspire. I will do more than earn, I will enrich. I will do more than give, I will serve. I will do more than live, I will grow. I will do more than be friendly, I will be a friend. I will do more than be a citizen, I will be a patriot.”
These words speak eloquently about what it means to live as Christ commands.