Text: Matthew 20.20-28
This past weekend Aaron Buer, Pastor of Senior High Ministries, spoke about a recurring theme of Jesus’ message and ministry: greatness through serving. In today’s Scripture, Jesus is encountered by disciples James and John, and their mother. Together they approach Jesus and request to be seated at his right hand and left hand when Jesus inaugurates his eternal reign.
There are two important parts to Jesus’ response to the “Sons of Thunder” worth noting. First, Jesus doesn’t chide their longing for greatness. In fact, that desire to be seen as important is innate in every human being. Secondly, Jesus affirms he will one day inaugurate his eternal reign and people will be assigned to those seats of honor—they’re asking for real positions!
What Jesus says is powerful: “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” (Matthew 20.26). We all have a desire for greatness. But if we pursue our own glory, we’ve disqualified ourselves from the outset. Jesus’ definition of greatness challenges our modern preoccupation with self-aggrandizement. We don’t exist for ourselves.
Today, as you welcome God into your day, consider what ways you have pursued greatness as the world defines it. Allow God to bring to mind areas of your life where you’re seeking to promote yourself or posture yourself for recognition. In response, ask God to give you a servant’s heart in those areas and a desire to be great in his kingdom.