James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup 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 hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” [NRSV]
This season of football is a celebration of the quest for Greatness. Who has the greatest record, the greatest team, the greatest coach, the most touchdown, the more sacks, the most yards rushing, the greatest paid attendance, the most market share, the greatest performance of wins, Which is the greatest championship and bowl game. Who will be the greatest draft pick. Greatness is the prize in every area.
Every great football coach has a challenging speech to fire-up and focus the team to victory in greatness. James and John go to Jesus and ask for the best seats in the biggest arena of the greatest stadium for eternity. We want an all-access, back stage and front row seats. You can give us that greatness.
Jesus says, you need to start washing the porta-potties at the tailgate and become the most service oriented person you can be. The hard part for James and John, is they are starting to develop a rotating work schedule and Jesus clarifies his offer. If you want to have a great seat during the game, then you need to be a slave to those outside the stadium. (But if we are out of the stadium, how will we enjoy our good seats.)
Front Row Service is not at the House of Worship.
The greatest servant of Jesus Christ is the one who is busy with God’s work and witness as a way of life. NCAA Slavery: Fans who shape their entire season around the games, parties and statistical tracking.
Front Row Service is being a slave to those outside the stadium
If you want to see the heart of God present in the world, its not in the stadium seating on the front row, its is on the streets, in the hearts, in the heartbreak and fear of life.
The Seats of Greatness cannot be given, they come as a benefit of the service.
It’s the work that is the joy and not the benefits. You’ve heard folks say, “I’m working for the benefits.” That is not slavery.
The definition of Slavery:
Working for someone else that is against their will and at the cost of their freedom.
The difference in Jesus’ “slavery” is when we yield our will, entrusting God’s will. It is giving up our freedom of self determination to be a servant of God’s.
Sounds like a job we will skip. The disciples started fussing and scolding James and John. Not a helpful response either.
Jesus is actually making discipleship much less grey, increasing the contrast, greatness is serving the lowliest.
Jesus won’t make us great. We can join his Greatness by serving.
Service is one of the very things we promise in serving at the church
Prayers, Presence, Gifts, Witness and Service
Serving is caring for the hungry, thirsty, naked, captive, the lost and forgotten.