FOR AUDIO VERSION CLICK HERE.20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him. 21 And He said to her, ``What do you wish?'' She said* to Him, ``Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.'' 22 But Jesus answered, ``You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?'' They said* to Him, ``We are able.'' 23 He said* to them, ``My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.''
24 And hearing this, the ten became indignant with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, ``You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them and their great men exercise authority over them. 26 ``It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many.''
John Calvin calls ambition, "a concealed flame." It exists in each of us, striving for acclaim, power, position, and attention. The concealed flame of ambition can be easily fueled when losing sight of the cross for visions of personal glory. If those closest to Christ fell prey to ambition, then we too must guard against its grip on our lives.
In my experience it is not just ambition that is the problem. The most extensive problem seems to be an optical one-THE BIG "I". So far in recent days in Matthew we've seen a man whose wealth had become his god and therefore came between him and following Jesus. We now see 2 brothers desiring certain positions in the kingdom-on the right and on the left. When it's all about ME, then it just isn't about JESUS.
Without a doubt the greatest disappointment to me has been watching men and women be more concerned about themselves and their conveniences than about spreading the movement of Jesus and His kingdom. There is more interest in a certain musical bent, the dazzle of a beautiful facility, the promotion of another program, the crowd--all giving a false sense of spirituality to spectating rather than participating! My heart continues to be broken by good people who want to sit in comfortable positions such as James and John, good people with a twisted perspective on what's most important.
Jesus makes it absolutely clear that we are hear, not to be served, but to serve. To be great in the kingdom is to find your position as a servant-that's a participator, not a spectator! So, are you in the stands watching or on the field in the action?