Wednesday, March 2, 2011

3/2/11 - Am I A Servant?

Mark 10:32-45
The disciples were on the way, going up to Jerusalem,
and Jesus went ahead of them.
They were amazed, and those who followed were afraid.
Taking the Twelve aside again, he began to tell them
what was going to happen to him.
“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man
will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes,
and they will condemn him to death
and hand him over to the Gentiles who will mock him,
spit upon him, scourge him, and put him to death,
but after three days he will rise.”
Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
came to Jesus and said to him,
‘Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”
He replied, ‘What do you wish me to do for you?”
They answered him,
“Grant that in your glory
we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.”
Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I drink
or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”
They said to him, ‘We can.”
Jesus said to them, “The chalice that I drink, you will drink,
and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized;
but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John.
Jesus summoned them and said to them,
“You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles
lord it over them,
and their great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.
For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
This is at least the fourth time in the last three years that I've written a message on this passage.  Every single time, I've identified that I am not a very good servant.  That is still true today.
So ... here I am, staring right at a passage that repeatedly has reminded me of a major spiritual weakness.  I need to be the one receiving encouragement, not writing it.
Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.  I think that's where I am.  
I'm proven to myself that left to my own devices, I'm not a good servant.  For a long time, I had no intention of being a servant.  These days, I generally have that intention, but when it comes down to me determining specifically what I will do and how I will do it over the course of a day, I don't begin with the thought "be a servant." That has to change.   
One lesson that God has driven home to me lately is that I really can't do anything spiritually on my own, at least not anything positive.  That means that if I realize I have to change, I have to understand that I need God's help, and ask for it while I do my best.  I have to lay down my pride completely, trust in God completely, and allow him to transform me, so that I can become the person he wants me to be.  Repeatedly.
Then I need to look at the results.  As of this evening, when I do my daily examination of conscience and look back in reflection on my day, I will ask myself both where I'd been a servant, and where I've missed the opportunity to be one.  I will ask God to shine his light on me and show me what I need to do different.
Hopefully, next time this passage comes around, I'll have made some advancement. 

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